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Comparative criminal justice policy

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

Comparative Criminal Justice Policy is broadly concerned with the study of criminal justice systems from a comparative perspective.

It considers criminal justice systems from a range of jurisdictions with a view to highlighting the merits and drawbacks of these systems. These systems may or may not potentially endorse or undermine the pursuit of justice. The course broadly explores the fact that what a crime is can often be described as a social construct, because it can differ according to the nation state’s own definition of what it wishes to be criminal. The course reviews the various methods of comparison, from the approaches that can be taken when studying criminal justice policy, the tools used to complete field work, the ability to critically consider crime and punishment statistics from a number of jurisdictions to an identification and review of the key philosophies, aims and values of criminal justice systems criminal justice systems around the world.

Module A: Methods of comparative research


  • Finding data
  • Measuring crime
  • Comparing statistics
  • Comparing policies

Module B: Legal cultures and criminal justice policy


  • Common law
  • Civil law
  • Socialist law
  • Islamic law

Module C: Aspects of comparative criminal policy


  • Policing and prosecution
  • Trials and sentencing
  • Use of imprisonment
  • Probation and community punishment

Module D: Global crime


  • Controlling transnational crime
  • War crimes
  • Terrorism
  • International law and crime


Each module is assessed by a 45-minute unseen written exam.


It is strongly recommended that you attempt the modules in order.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification.

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Common Law
  • Comparative and Foreign Law
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • International Criminal Justice

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Study Material