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A Criminal Lawyer fulfils a dual role, representing and advocating for a defendant who is charged with a crime, whilst maintaining their duty to the court.

The Criminal Law subjects in the LLM (Applied Law) cover the legal aspects of working in the criminal law system.

With a strong focus on practical learning, this programme will give you the skills to manage the every-day issues you are likely to encounter working in the Criminal Courts in New Zealand.


CRM1NZ Sentencing Law and Procedure

Often the final occurrence in a criminal procedure, sentencing is a complex procedure that balances a number of different objectives. The role of a criminal lawyer is to advocate for and guide their client through the process.

This practice-based subject advances a students’ knowledge and understanding of sentencing law and procedure within the New Zealand criminal law system.

  • The purposes and principles of sentencing
  • Taking instructions and guilty pleas
  • Structuring written submissions
  • Identifying relevant guideline decisions
  • Land Transport Act 1998 offences and sentencing outcomes
  • Identifying relevant reports available
  • The three strikes law and preventative detention
  • Pleas in mitigation
CRM2NZ Trial Practice and Procedure

A criminal lawyer is instructed by their client to represent them through a complex and often stressful procedure. A lawyer must undertake their advocacy role alongside their duties to the Court, and within the rules and regulations governing proceedings.

This topic covers the practical skills and understanding needed to act in a criminal law trial in the New Zealand Courts.

  • Entry of a plea
  • Name suppression
  • Election of Judge alone trial or jury trial
  • Reversal of election
  • Organisation of state disclosure
  • Defence investigation, experts and defence disclosure
  • Briefing witnesses
  • Case management memoranda and meetings
  • Trial case memoranda
  • Pre-trials
  • Evidence at trial
  • Conduct of trial
  • Jury selection
  • Leading of evidence
  • Cross-examination
  • Immediate preparation
  • Legal aid issues
CRM3NZ Appeals and Procedure

A criminal lawyer is instructed by their client to represent them through a complex and often stressful procedure. A lawyer must undertake their advocacy role alongside their duties to the Court, and within the rules and regulations governing proceedings.

The focus for appeal counsel is on error, legal novelty, due process and fairness. The challenge in criminal appeals is to persuade the appeal court that there is a flaw in a decision, such that the appeal court should intervene. Unlike a trial, you are not starting with a clean slate; the decision has already gone against your client. Preparation is the key to any successful appeal.

  • Overview of criminal appeals
  • Miscarriages of justice on conviction and manifestly excessive sentences
  • Alleged trial counsel misconduct
  • Correcting legal errors, pre-trial and intra-trial rulings
  • Legal errors in the Judge’s summing up, errors and unreasonableness
  • Taking instructions and obtaining material for the appeal
CRM4NZ Criminal Disclosure

The criminal law system in New Zealand advocates for the early resolution of charges (where possible) through the review of evidence well in advance of any trial. This allows the trial counsel to take advantage of the investigative and forensic resources of the prosecutor.

Ensuring a defendant receives a fair trial is an absolute right outlined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. Obtaining disclosure is usually the first step taken by trial counsel to ensure that a defendant receives a fair trial.

  • Disclosure by the prosecutor
  • Full disclosure and requests for additional disclosure
  • Withheld information
  • Defence disclosure and access to court documents
  • Non-party disclosure
  • Effect of incomplete and late disclosure
  • Preparing applications for disclosure
CRM5NZ Search and Seizure

This practice-based LLM subject advances on students’ knowledge towards specialised and integrated understandings about Search and Seizure.

  • an overview of the Search and Surveillance Act 2012
  • search warrants
  • warrantless searches, including of places, people, vehicles and arms
  • surveillance and interception
  • production and examination orders
  • execution of searches, including powers and obligations
  • privileged materials, and
  • challenges to searches.
CRM00NZ Criminal Law Capstone

The Capstone Project is taken as the final subject in a major. Drawing from the skills and knowledge you have acquired throughout the program, the Capstone Project will challenge you to integrate these skills and apply them effectively to sophisticated and realistic legal scenarios. There is a strong focus on practical experience and active learning; your performance throughout the subject will be continuously evaluated through a series of assessments.


These Applied Law programmes are delivered by The College of Law Limited in Australia which is a self-accrediting Higher Education Provider within the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) regulatory framework. The programmes are fully compliant with the Australian Qualifications Framework at Masters level. The College has delivered these programmes for over 10 years and is now the second largest provider of LLM qualifications in Australia.

It should be noted that these Applied Law programmes are not accredited by the NZQA.


Further reading