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How to Write a Criminal Law Paper

Published under Custom Writing Blog On10 Mar 2016

A criminal law paper entails a form of writing that aims to persuade individuals on a particular angle of law that regulates social behavior and bans or limits whatever is harmful or threatening (Allen, 2013). It seeks to show one's understanding of criminal law and, therefore, qualifies the student for a reward or good grade. There are several types of criminal law papers. The paper depends on the crime that one is discussing. Crimes include fraud, homicide, and theft. There may be different types of criminal cases that apply differently, but they all follow a similar guideline.

Step 1

First, it is important to understand the question asked. Get the central question and other questions that may arise from the main problem. Group the two types of questions and research for the answers. Make sure you do not concentrate on the minor issues, as the focus should be the main question (Hall, 2010). If the minor question is a multi-part, ensure that you answer one section entirely before moving to the next one. From the question, you would understand the type of criminal law to be applied and how to answer it: that is whether it is a position or argument paper. It also helps you organize your flow of ideas and gives a guideline of the laws that would apply to that question (Allen, 2013).

Tips and Warnings

  • Take adequate time to get the right content, as this would make work easier while doing the paper
  • Give a brief interpretation of questions asked
  • Do not plagiarize. You may cite work of other authors but do not copy. If you want to add it to your work, make sure you cite where you got it (Hall, 2010).

Step 2

Examine the topic, research and take notes on the ideas that relate to the question. One needs to go through previous cases, judgments, and discussions of other lawyers before using their work as evidence mentioning them in citations and reference (Hall, 2010). Consider what and how the state laws relate to the specified crime. Write down all the case laws and years they were decided, especially if they relate to the state laws mentioned in the question. For example, judicial precedence in a theft case in the U.S. would be good secondary data for a question that involves theft in said country. Later, mention the suggested academic and law commission proposal for reforms. Criminal law is a progressive discipline, and it is important to show the present state of the law reforms (Herring, 2014). You may then give a few remarks of how you would expect the law to be at that point. In this case, it means you either agree or disagree with the reforms and what could be an improvement of the reforms.

Tips and Warnings

  • Ensure that you get relevant content from the research
  • Keep referring to the questions asked.

Step 3

Here, one needs to mention the possible crimes that law covers. Order them starting from more serious to low-level crimes. For each case, decide whether the crime was an act (actus rues), a state of the mind (mens rea) and defenses that may or could arise in the case (Herring, 2014). One would also have to point out the legal rule that appears in each case explaining the law descriptively, clearly, and concisely. The step should also point out the court’s application of the rule in a context both previous and current, the limitations, and the policy considerations that support the law.

Tips and Warnings

  • Explain your line of thought. In doing so, one ensures that the professor will be satisfied that you understand how the rule you mentioned applies in this context (Hall, 2010).
  • In order to demonstrate your understanding of the rule of law, use analogies.
  • The most important section of the paper would be applying the law to the facts.


The paper will include the practitioners that could be involved and can be discussed in criminal law. Criminal law, unlike civil, is an issue that involves the state. It means that the law enforcement such as the police is involved. Before prosecution, the psychologists consider the psychological health of the criminals to ensure that it is a crime and not a mental condition. Patterns of behavior and morality would get studied by the sociologists and forensic scientist used to collect the evidence (Herring, 2014).

Tips and Warnings

  • Understand the relevant career and practitioners that would get involved in that particular criminal law.
  • Do not confuse the practitioners and the roles they play regarding criminal justice (Hall, 2010).

Step 5

Write the expected arguments and how you would counter them. As such, it means that one has to consider the possible and expected responses that the opposing council would present. This demonstrates a clear understanding of the rule of law that you have applied in your paper.

Tips and Warnings

  • Criminal law is subject to many individual interpretations, and it would, therefore, be necessary to back up your expected arguments with precedents to show its practicability (Herring, 2014).


The final part is the conclusion. This paragraph gives a brief of the entire paper. It is a summary of your findings and points (Hall, 2010). After the summary, you give your opinion on the criminal law. It is important to cite cases and present positions on the law that would back up your point of view. At this point, do not add any new concepts, as it is the closing point. The ideas should sound reasoned and presented as your views. 

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