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Universidade Lusófona do Porto

Penal Law I


This curricular unit is the student's first contact with the criminal-law science. Here the main principles of criminal law are taught, as well as their place in the legal system. Afterwards, the student will enter into the study of the general theory of criminal offense, a study that begins with criminally relevant conduct, typicality and unlawfulness. The remaining categories would be taught in the Criminal Law UC II.

As follows from what has already been written, the field and area of ¿¿action is the criminal-legal field, studying, albeit perfunctorially, and therefore touching on this discipline, the illicit of mere social ordering.

The course of Criminal Law I is indispensable and essential to the Cycle of Studies, because much of the legal world, whether as a lawyer, magistrate, or consultant, goes through the understanding of its syllabus.



Level of Qualification|Semesters|ECTS

| Semestral | 6

Year | Type of course unit | Language

2 |Mandatory |Português



Recommended complementary curricular units

Political Science and Constitutional Law I

Political Science and Constitutional Law II

Criminal Procedural Law I

Criminal Procedural Law II

Professional Internship



Description of contents

I - Introduction

1. Elementary structures of criminal law

2. Towards a new ¿science of total (joint) criminal law¿

3. The administrative sanctionatory law and criminal law

4. The scope of criminal law

5. The sources of criminal law

6. Interpretation in criminal law

7. The history of criminal law

II - The general doctrine of criminal offense

8. The fundamental ordering of conduct (fact) punishable

9. The typical conduct (the type)

10. Illicit conduct (the illicit)


In this first course unit of the beginning of the study of Criminal Law, it is intended that the student acquires precise knowledge about each of the program points, so that, in the following semesters, develop and consolidate his knowledge about Criminal Law.

Teaching methodologies and assessment

The classes are theoretical and practical, which presupposes an expository or theoretical part and a part in which the student is invited to participate, raising doubts, asking questions and thinking about the points taught. This second moment is later than the first and will also include the interpretation of judgments and the resolution of practical cases.

The evaluation regime is continuous and consists of two written tests, on dates to be defined in accordance with article 16 of the ULP General Evaluation Regulation, each lasting 1.30 (one hour and thirty minutes). Each test has a weighting of 50%. There will also be an appeal exam for students who, in compliance with Article 17 of the above-mentioned Regulations, have not been approved by the UC by continuous assessment.

The frequency of classes is mandatory and the maximum legal number of absences corresponds to 30% of the total classes, except in special cases.


COSTA, José de Faria, Direito Penal, Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 2017;

VILELA, Alexandra, «Beccaria: contributo do ¿Direito Penal total¿ para o exercício da cidadania», in: BFD, vol. LXXXXVIII, I,Coimbra: Coimbra Editora 2012, 271-285;

____, «A segunda parte do regime geral do ilícito de mera ordenação social: um direito processual muitas vezes ignorado», in: RFDULP, 4, 2014, 1-10, acessível em:;

____, «O direito contra ordenacional: um direito sancionatório com futuro?», in: Anatomia do Crime - Revista de Ciências Jurídico-criminais, 2, 2015, 149-162.

____,«Legítima Defesa, in: Maia, Rui Leandro, Nunes, Laura, Caridade, Sónia, Sani, Ana Isabel, Estrada, Rui, Nogueira, Cristiano, Fernandes, Hélder, Afonso, Lígia (Coordenadores), Dicionário Crime, Justiça e Sociedade, Lisboa: Edições Sílabo, 2016, pp. 296, 2.ª coluna-297-2.ª coluna.

Office Hours

Nome do docente  

Horário de atendimento


Alexandra Maria dos Santos Esteves Vilela

2.ºs feiras: 14h30 às 16h30

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Alexandra Maria dos Santos ESteves Vilela


2.ºs feiras: 20h30 às 22h30

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