Libel, Blasphemy and Assault


Course Objective

Upon successfully completing this course, students will:

(A) Subject-specific learning outcomes
Have basic knowledge of:
• The basic principles of tort and criminal law
• The sources of tort law and criminal law;
• The role and position of the central actors in tort and criminal

(B) Academic skills
Be able to:
• Read primary legal sources, detect structures of legal reasoning and
distinguish between principled and peripheral matters of law;
• Identify the different legal regimes that regulate tortious and
criminal behavior;
• Summarize and articulate legal rules and principles, as well as
jurisprudence and academic literature pertaining to tortious and
criminal behavior.

(C) Social and communicative skills
Be able to:
• Present analysis of jurisprudence or academic writings;
• Provide feedback on the work of other students.

(D) Study skills and professional orientation
Be able to:
• Apply legal rules to (simplified) tortious and criminal cases;
• Offer interpretations of rules in light of changing circumstances;
• Find relevant legal rules and principles, jurisprudence and academic
literature pertaining to tortious and criminal behavior;
• Select reliable sources to solve basic legal problems.

Course Content

This course will introduce students to the core legal principles and
concepts underlying the fields of:

• Private Law: more specifically, tort law; and
• Criminal Law.

This course will contextualize the study material by looking
specifically at the legal regulation of libel, blasphemy and assault, as
examples of human conduct that is traditionally regulated by tort and/or
criminal law. Students would, thus, gain an introductory understanding
of: (i) the main aims of tort law and criminal law, and (ii) the methods
which criminal and tort law employ to judge human behavior.

Topics that will be covered in the course include:

1. Fault and strict liability;
2. Remedies in tort law (compensation and deterrence)
3. Causation and damages;
4. Principles of criminalization;
5. Stages in the criminal justice process and main participants;
6. The principle of legality and rights of the accused in criminal
7. Elements of crime;
8. Forms of individual criminal responsibility;
9. Grounds for excluding criminal responsibility.

Teaching Methods

The course adopts a teaching format that combines:

• Seminars, mandatory attendance (they use lecturing and interactive
teaching methods).
• Workshops, mandatory attendance (focusing on analysis of legal
provisions, case law and academic articles, as well as student
presentations and discussions).

Method of Assessment

• Group presentation and feedback in class, either on
application/interpretation of law, or on interpretation of an academic
• Exam


Course books and other reading material:

- J. Keiler & D. Roef, Comparative Concepts of Criminal Law, (3rd edn,
Cambridge: Intersentia, 2019).
- J. Smits, Advanced Introduction to Private Law, (Cheltenham: Edward
Elgar Publishing, 2017).
- Articles and case law listed in the course syllabus overview for each

General Information

Course Code R_LBA
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator dr. L.D. Yanev
Examiner dr. L.D. Yanev
Teaching Staff dr. L.D. Yanev
prof. dr. J.L. Smeehuijzen
prof. dr. M.F.H. Hirsch Ballin

Practical Information

You cannot register for this course yourself; your faculty's education office carries out registration

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture, Study Group