Module code: LAW3139

Module Overview

Digital technology influences every aspect of daily life, shaping the way that individuals live, work and socialise but it has a less positive aspect as it has also transformed criminal behaviour. This module considers the dark side of technology and, in doing so, it draws on areas of study familiar to the students (criminal law, public law, criminal justice) whilst introducing a new focus of study by exploring the way in which cyberspace facilitates crime. The module encourages critical engagement with the way in which the law operates in an effort to combat cybercrime and brings together theoretical ideas about the function of law with the practical considerations of the impact of criminal behaviour on society. It also engages with the challenges of preventing online crime and policing the internet. This is set in the context of the domestic, European and international law framework whilst also considering non-legal approaches to regulation. The focus of the module is on the way that people misuse technology. It does not require any particular knowledge or understanding of technology itself over and above that of the everyday computer user.

Module provider

School of Law

Module Leader

FINCH Emily (Schl of Law)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 8

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 104

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module will cover a range of topics from amongst the following:

  • The theoretical foundation of cybercrime.

  • The evolution of cybercrime and the regulation of cyberspace.

  • Crimes against the machine: computer misuse, spam, viruses, denial of service.

  • Crimes using the machine: phishing, romance fraud, identity theft, online grooming.

  • Crimes on the machine: obscene, hateful and otherwise undesirable content.

  • Regulation, jurisdiction and policing cyberspace.

Cybercrime is a dynamic area of law and so the content of the module may vary to reflect emerging areas of concern at the time the module is delivered.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 2000 word coursework 50
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Group Project, Information Video 50

Alternative Assessment

A one-hour online exam is available as an alternative to the group project.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have understood the way in which cybercrime operates in society and the challenges that it presents to the law in terms of detection, investigation and prosecution as well as encouraging a creative and critically-evaluative approach to the communication this understanding.

 Accordingly, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A 2000-word piece theoretically-informed exploration of the challenges involved in policing a particular cybercrime (all learning outcomes).

  • A group project to create a video that informs and educates some sector of the public or a particular profession or organization about the risks associated with a particular cybercrime (all learning outcomes).

The formative assessment for the module consists of weekly opportunities to submit written work as each tutorial task includes an essay question which means that students have the opportunity to receive written and verbal feedback in preparation for the written coursework. Verbal feedback will be provided during the workshop presentations on ideas for the video project.

The summative consisting of the group video project encourages and enables students to build digital capabilities through the creation of digital content. Moreover, the group collaboration aspect will enable students to build resilience and resourcefulness due to the necessity of working together, engaging in collective problem solving and negotiating the parameters of interpersonal dynamics within the context of a realistic professional task for which they will be assesed.


Module aims

  • To provide a foundation of knowledge and understanding of the complexities associated with the regulation of cyberspace and the challenges that cybercrime presents to the criminal justice system.
  • To outline the theoretical basis for understanding cybercrime and online criminality and to question the effectiveness of the law as a mechanism for regulating online behaviour.
  • To explore the criminogenic potential of the online environment and to consider a range of offences committed using computers, the relationship between cybercrime and social harm and the prevalence and impact of a range of different cybercrimes.
  • To equip students with the knowledge and skills to engage in critical evaluation of the current approach to the regulation of cyberspace, taking into account private and public approaches to enforcement and the jurisdictional challenges inherent in this area of law.
  • To address the balance needed between freedom and regulation in the context of issues such as harassment and defamation.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify, explain and apply the legislative provisions that regulate the offences covered in the module. KCPT
002 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the issues associated with the regulation of cyberspace including the jurisdictional issues. KCP
003 Show an awareness of the development of technology and the relationship with trends in cybercrime. KP
004 Engage in critical assessment of the national and international policies and initiatives aimed at controlling KC
005 Evidence an awareness of the social context within which cybercrime takes place. K
006 Development of creativity thinking, communication skills, independent research skills and collaborative working practices. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to support students in the acquisition of a core body of knowledge of the emergence of cybercrimes and the associated problems with policing and regulation. It aims to facilitate active engagement with the subject matter and, more broadly, an appreciation of the operation of law in society. It places an appropriate level of emphasis on independent learning and encourages students to take a creative approach to communicating their understanding of the law as it relates to cybercrime.

The learning and teaching methods will include:

  • two-hour interactive lectures in which core information and ideas will be disseminated.

  • one-hour tutorials in which facilitate the exploration of ideas and concepts in greater depth.

  • two-hour student-led interactive workshops in which research about core topics within cybercrime are presented and discussed.

The module content is directly related to the Surrey pedagogical pillars of digital capabilities and employability. Cybercrime is an increasingly important threat in the workplace, and understanding the dynamics and legal response to this problem will be important in a wide range of modern professional settings. Furthermore, understanding cybercrime requires digital literacy, as computers, the internet and sometimes complex technical systems are essential to the perpetration, detection and prosecution of cybercrime. Understanding the vulnerabilities of modern  systems, networks and platforms and how the law responds to these threats is essential to embedding digital competency within the student body and will help them develop skills that make them more employable.

Furthermore, cybercrime is an increasingly global problem, which cuts across traditional national borders, and understanding the transnational nature of this phenomenon – as well as the international collaboration required to combat it – is an essential component of building the students’ global awareness, understanding and ability for problem solving. The global capacities of students will be directly enhanced through studying the topics covered in this module.

Finally, the module contributes to the sustainability pillar through the recognition that any financially viable response to environmental challenge will require secure, trustworthy systems embedded within an internet-enabled modern economy. Commerce, infrastructure, transport, health and sustainable systems in general are built upon a foundation of trust and security that require robust responses to cybercrime, and so studying this module will equip students to be able to contribute to the development of more workable sustainable solutions in the course of their professional lives.


Students enrolled on the LLB Law with Criminology programme CANNOT choose this module if they have also opted to choose SOC3075 (Cyber Crime and Cyber Security)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: LAW3139

Other information

The School of Law is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The module provides students with core knowledge of the key rules of law and judicial principles framing the regulation and mediation of cybercrime in England and Wales. This area of law is a key aspect of most technologically enabled workplaces. Students are expected to develop and refine their problem-solving skills and to engage in structuring their advice and analyses in a practical way to a professional standard with clear reference and support from primary and secondary legal sources. The assessment tests students on key aspects which are reflective of skills expected in the workplace environment. The examination will allow students to develop and demonstrate their ability to engage with complex and possibly opaque and fluid facts and with issues that invite a diverse and open-ended range of responses. The group video project will likewise allow students to exercise their judgement and require them to display ownership and maturity in learning as they self-determine the scope and structure of their project.

Digital Capabilities: In addition to the module content itself, which is directly connected to digital capabilities, students are expected to engage with material online through effective navigation of the Surreylearn VLE and online legal databases provided by the University library. Students will use digital technology to prepare their and submit their assessment and are likely to use digital technology in aiding their preparations and presentations during the workshop sessions.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: While the module content focusses on English and Welsh law on cybercrime, the global nature of the problems associated with cybercrime allow for the development of legal principles and enforcement approaches that can apply to or aid understanding of cybercrime in this and in other jurisdictions. Some fundamental concepts such as fraud, computer misuse, unauthorised access, harassment, anonymity, identity theft, among others, have the capability to impact the lived experiences of students even outside of professional practice. The module furthermore allows students to build fundamental skills (conciliation, fact finding, negotiation, collaboration) which are globally useful in cultivating and maintaining interpersonal relations and for understanding and navigating different cultures, not to mention attaining professional success. The workshops sessions require students to collaborate and engage effectively to evaluate and provide feedback to each other’s work and will allow them the space and opportunity to interact, communicate and build relationships with peers from diverse backgrounds and in a way that respects and promotes the interests of cultural groups and individual rights.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The learning teaching and assessment strategy for this module has been designed to encourage active learning through participation, community building, peer support and reflective practice. Students will draw on individual and collective resourcefulness to design practical and critically reasoned solution to the challenges raised by the legal issues or normative thesis within the workshop problem tasks. Resilience and resourcefulness are further integrated within the module through the assessment strategy associated with the group video project. Students will be able to collectively undertake self-assessment, engage in open-ended inquiry and to make and defend their own choices and to determine and manage suitable tasks in the completion of the project. This project will also assist in building students’ confidence in their ability to make independent decisions and to reflect and take ownership of the results arising. Students are encouraged to reflect on feedback and feedforward and to engage with constructive comments and to take ownership of their learning. Formative assessment and feedback provide an opportunity for students to fail or make errors in a “safe” environment and to learn from experience and practical application building confidence and self-efficacy. The formative and summative assessments in this module require students to develop and apply techniques that feedforward to assessments within the module and to demonstrate initiative and ownership by extending those skills to the learning and assessment tasks of other modules within the programme.

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.