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Comparative Justice Systems

Course Code: CRIM 1101
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Criminology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Field Experience
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course provides the student with the valuable opportunity to study a foreign justice system from a comparative viewpoint. A series of lectures, readings and assignments will precede travel to a foreign jurisdiction where site visits and tours, and interactive seminars will follow. The student will gain first hand experience and knowledge on a foreign jurisdiction as it compares to the Canadian Justice System.

Course Content

  1. The Purpose and Nature of Comparative Criminal Justice Study
    • Benefits of studying foreign criminal justice systems
    • Methods to study foreign criminal justice systems
  2. Historical Implications of an International Perspective on the Canadian Criminal Justice System
    • Legal tradition
    • Courts
    • Policing
    • Corrections
  3. International Crime Statistics
    • The compilation of crime statistics
    • Problems in reporting and recording crime
    • Trends in cross-national crime data
    • Developing and testing crime theories with cross-national data
    • The role of Interpol
  4. The Current Structure of the Foreign Justice System
    • Philosophy and practice
    • Substantive and procedural practice
    • Police structure:  Centralized and decentralized
    • Correctional structure and practice
    • Juvenile justice
  5. Comparison of Foreign System to Canadian System
    • Critical comparative approach

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: a series of pre-tour lectures prior to departure to the foreign jurisdiction.  In the foreign jurisdiction, students will be taught through a combination of lectures, site visits/tours, and interactive seminars to various justice agencies.  Students will keep a journal of their experiences and observations in the foreign jurisdiction.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy and will include both formative and summative components.  Evaluation criteria will be based on a combination of the following: a term paper, quizzes, journal exercises, oral presentations, participation, and group work.  The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester. 

An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

Term paper  30%
Quiz  15%
Journal Assignments          20%
Group Presentation  25%
Participation  10%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Explain the nature and purpose of the comparative study of criminal justice systems.
  2. Compare and contrast data from foreign jurisdiction(s) with that of Canada.
  3. Describe the historical development of the law, courts, police and corrections of a foreign jurisdiction.
  4. Compare and contrast the current structure of the justice system of a foreign jurisdiction and the Canadian system.
  5. Identify current justice issues in the Canadian system and the foreign jurisdiction.
  6. Critically evaluate current justice issues and responses of Canada and foreign systems.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.