ACE

AP2824: Psychology of the Courtroom

Credit Weighting: 5
No. of Students: Min 20, Max 30.
Pre-requisite(s): None.
Co-requisite(s): None.
Teaching Period(s): Semester 2.
Teaching Methods: 6 x 3hr(s) Lectures; 2 x 1hr(s) Tutorials; 4hr(s) Other (Set reading material for discussion at tutorials. Set course work. Engagement in Peer Learning Activities); Other (Set reading material for discussion at tutorials. Set course work.)
Module Co-ordinator: Dr Ciara Staunton, Centre for Adult Continuing Education.
Lecturer(s): Staff, School of Applied Psychology, and guest lecturers where appropriate.
Module Objective: To develop a critical awareness of the role of psychology in the courtroom.
Module Content: This module will provide an overview of the role of psychology in the courtroom and psychologists as expert witnesses. Topics covered will include:
The role of the expert witness;
Principles of criminal law, Sentencing policy and practice; Irish and UK legislation;
Mental, personality and intellectual problems in court;
Eyewitness testimony and memory;
Children as witnesses;
Jury selection;
Jury decision-making processes;
Ehical issues;
Psychological services available to offenders and staff in prisons.
Learning Outcome: On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
  • Describe the areas in which psychologists can offer their expertise in a court of law.
  • Discuss the origins and operations of the various sources of Law which constitute the Irish Legal System.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the mental, personality and intellectual problems that can occur in court.
  • Challenge the notion that eyewitness testimony is a solid form of evidence.
  • Examine the difficulties posed by child witnesses.
  • Identify the procedures of jury selection.
  • Apply two psychological phenomena to jury decision making procedures.
  • Establish the ethical dilemmas faced by psychologists giving evidence in court.
  • Appraise the psychological services available to offenders and staff in prisons.
Assessment: Total Marks 100: Continuous Assessment 100 marks (1 x 3,000 word assignment excluding references, 80 Marks; Peer Learning Activities, 20 Marks).
Compulsory Elements: Continuous Assessment.
Penalties (for late submission of course/project work etc.): Where work is submitted up to and including 7 days late, 5% of the total marks available shall be deducted from the mark achieved. Where work is submitted up to and including 14 days late, 10% of the total marks available shall be deducted from the mark achieved. Work submitted 15 days late or more shall be assigned a mark of zero.
Pass Standard and any Special Requirements for Passing Module: 40%.
End of Year Written Examination Profile: No Formal Written Examination.
Requirements for Supplemental Examination: Marks in passed element(s) of Continuous Assessment are carried forward, Failed element(s) of Continuous Assessment must be repeated (as prescribed by the Module Coordinator).

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF

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