Course Description

Diploma in Criminal Law & Practice

Programme objectives

On successful completion of this training programme, participants will be able to:

  • Advocate on behalf of clients in court;
  • Advise clients effectively in Garda custody;
  • Demonstrate the ethical awareness required of practitioners when dealing with victims of crime and vulnerable witnesses;
  • Summarise and outline the practical implications of evidential and procedural rules;
  • Recognise a potential judicial review and manage a judicial review application;
  • Analyse the essential proofs in road traffic offences;
  • Appraise the role of the children’s court in the juvenile justice system;
  • Critically analyse the principles of sentencing law and practice; and
  • Critically analyse the criminal justice process in regulatory crime.

Programme structure and approach to learning

This diploma offers students in-depth exposure to and practical insight into key practice areas of criminal law in Ireland from both the prosecution and defence perspectives. A core component of the course is the goal of developing the advocacy skills of those attending, through interactive workshop sessions that mirror situations faced in the criminal justice process. The ethical and professional considerations of advising an arrested person in custody, dealing with vulnerable witnesses, and victims’ rights in a criminal trial process will be considered in detail.

The course also includes an in-depth look at sentencing law and practice. We discuss the role of the prosecution and certain State agencies in the criminal justice system, and other areas of practice will be reviewed, with a practical focus on evidential and procedural updates and coverage of emerging areas of practice such as white-collar crime and the increased impact of EU law on criminal practice.


The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Arrest and detention

  • Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014,
  • Advising clients in Garda custody.

Module 2: Evidence and criminal law updates

  • Rules of evidence,
  • Beyond JC – the impact of the new exclusionary rule,
  • Recent legislative and procedural updates,
  • The European Arrest Warrant,
  • Criminal evidence and the European Convention on Human Rights,
  • Data protection and criminal trials,
  • Dwyer v Commissioner of An Garda Síochána (2018),
  • The role and function of the Children’s Court,
  • Sentencing – recent developments and emerging trends.

Module 3: The District Court and advocacy skills

  • Initial applications in the District Court,
  • District Court advocacy skills,
  • Running a District Court case – the role of the practitioner,
  • Bail applications,
  • Aspects of higher courts criminal advocacy,
  • Legal aid.

Module 4: Dealing with victims and vulnerable witnesses

  • Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017,
  • Prosecutorial challenges – vulnerable victims and witnesses,
  • Sexual offences – Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017,
  • Domestic Violence Act 2018.

Discrete areas of practice

Module 5: Judicial review

  • Practice and procedure in judicial review applications,
  • Identifying a judicial review,
  • Advocacy skills.

Module 6: Road traffic offences

  • Basic proofs in a drink-driving case,
  • Recent case law developments,
  • Advocacy skills: running a District Court case and Circuit Court appeal.

Module 7: Sentencing Law and Practice

  • General principles,
  • Mitigating factors and aggravating factors,
  • Relevant legislation and case law,
  • Sentencing – custodial, suspended sentence, fines, community service, probation and poor box, binding over, compensation orders,
  • Sentencing hearing.

Module 8: Regulatory crime

  • Regulatory crime – practice and procedure,
  • Criminal offences and the Companies Act 2014,
  • The role of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.


Workshops are a key feature of this course. These are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on the application of the law to common scenarios encountered in practice.

Who should attend?

This course is suitable for the following:

  • Solicitors, trainees, and barristers,
  • Members of An Garda Síochána and employees of statutory agencies and offices that have a criminal justice function,
  • Other suitably qualified professionals.

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified non-members Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €335.

Visit the course webpage for more information.

CollegeLaw Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre
Course LocationDublin
Location PostcodeDublin 7
Course CategoryCriminal Law, Law
Course TypeBlended Learning - Mix of Classroom & Online
Course QualificationAward / Certificate
Awarding BodyLaw Society of Ireland
Awarding Body DetailsDiploma in Criminal Law & Practice
Course Start Date20th October 2023
Course End Date9th February 2024
Course Duration6 months
Course TimeLive monthly block release lectures and workshop sessions over five weekends (Friday and Saturday). Available to view on demand.
Course Fee2,600
For information about Law Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre, please visit our College Profile page on by clicking here.

Course Provider

Law Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre

The Education Centre, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 (DX 79 Dublin), Ireland D07 VW24, Dublin, Ireland

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Law Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre
The Education Centre, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 (DX 79 Dublin), Ireland D07 VW24
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