This course offers a comparative and critical investigation into criminal law and criminal justice as it is conceptualised and also how it operates within the main legal traditions of the world. The course explores the relationship between law, justice, crime and punishment and how each is manifest within contemporary legal systems. The course uses comparative methodology to highlight similarities and differences between and within legal traditions. It also will assess the different criminal law processes and their outcomes and how these can inform criminal law reform in a global context.

Associate Professor Ann Black

Ann Black teaches and researches in the field of comparative law and legal pluralism. She has a strong research focus on the law and legal cultures of Asia, and in the role of Shari’a law in Australia and other nations of the Asia-Pacific, in particular, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. Ann’s book, Modern Perspectives on Islamic Law, co-authored with Nadir Hosen and Hossein Esmaeili, contributes to scholarship in these topical matters. She is also the co-author of Law and Legal Institutions of Asia: Traditions, adaptations and innovations.

Ann is Deputy Director of the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law.


Dr Melanie O’Brien

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the TC Beirne School of Law

Melanie's research project is titled From Discrimination to Death: Genocidal Process and Prevention Through a Human Rights Lens, and aims to construct a paradigm of the genocidal process through human rights violations to function as a map to prevent future genocides.

Melanie's research and supervision areas include international criminal law, human rights law, international humanitarian law (IHL), feminist legal theory, public international law, comparative criminal law, peacekeeping, and military law. She has published in leading academic journals and is on the Editorial Boards of Human Rights Review and Genocide Studies and Prevention. Melanie is a member of the Australian Committee of the Armed Forces Law Association of New Zealand, and the Advisory Board of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). She has won several prestigious grants such as the Griffith Asia Institute Australia China Futures Dialogues Visiting Fellowship to Peking University, China, and the Gandel Philanthropy Scholarship for the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators, at Yad Vashem in Israel.


In this course we explore the legal traditions, criminal justice institutions and offences through a case study approach, including:

  • UK and Germany
  • Dayaks of Borneo
  • Confucianism in Korea
  • Syariah in Saudi Arabia & Brunei
  • Socialism in PRC
  • Colonialism in Indonesia
  • Pluralism in Malaysia
  • Military in USA & Australia
  • Morality: adultery & prostitution
  • Genocide & crimes ag humanity
  • Human Rights including death penalty, lèse majesté; honour killings; anti-terrorism offences

Course information

Course code

27 - 30 July 2017