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LAWS458 Sentencing


The law relating to sentencing the criminal offender, including theories of punishment, the mechanics of the sentencing process, the use of probation and psychiatric reports, sentencing alternatives.

An examination of the principles and practice of sentencing. A key feature of sentencing is that it is discretionary, but the sentencing judge is constrained by the requirements of the Sentencing Act 2002 and by sentencing levels as evidenced in similar cases. Topics will include the nature and purpose of punishment; statutory and judicial sentencing principles; sentencing alternatives; and the mechanics of sentencing - the sentencing and appeal process, including the roles of prosecution and defense counsel.

Paper title Sentencing
Paper code LAWS458
Subject Law
EFTS 0.1
Points 15 points
Teaching period 1st Non standard period (13 November 2023 - 16 December 2023) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $710.30
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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96 LAWS points
Pre or Corequisite
Any 200-level LAWS paper not already passed
Limited to
LLB, LLB(Hons)
Not all optional papers will be available in any given year.
Teaching staff

Dr Danica McGovern


Course readings via eReserve.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will

  • Explain the purpose, justifications and limitations of the main theories underlying sentencing law in New Zealand, and how these are applied under the Sentencing Act 2002
  • Describe the forms of sentence available under the Sentencing Act 2002 and evaluate situations in which each sentence might or might not be appropriate
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the process of sentencing an offender in New Zealand, and the information available to the court in this process
  • Explain the purpose, justifications, and limitations of specific sentencing rules under the Sentencing Act 2002
  • Develop an informed opinion on current issues in sentencing

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1st Non standard period (13 November 2023 - 16 December 2023)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system