This unit of study covers the principles of the law of evidence, a branch of procedural law dealing with the proof of facts before courts and tribunals. It considers these principles in the context of civil and criminal trials, their application to parties and particular rules relating to the burden and onus of proof, relevance, character and credibility, corroboration, restrictions on access to information, testimony, opinions and the exclusionary rule against hearsay and its exceptions including admissions in criminal investigations. It focuses on the uniform Evidence Act and its application to criminal trials in particular and principles of statutory interpretation including common law codification. It critiques the forms of proof used in the common law adversarial trial and recent legislative reforms including changes resulting from social, political and technological developments including globalisation, digitalisation, civil rights and the search for effective and efficient dispute resolution procedures.

Unit details

Location:
Study level:
Undergraduate
Credit points:
12
Unit code:
LLW4007

Prerequisites

BLB1101 - Australian Legal System in Context

BLB1114 - Legal Research Methods

LLW1001 - Criminal Law

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Conceptually map and integrate the relevant principles of evidence law with the relevant substantive law;  
  2. Apply knowledge of evidence law and other substantive law to resolving complex issues of proof;  
  3. Critique the strengths and weaknesses of the methodology of the adversarial trial and its inclusionary and exclusionary rules as a form of inquiry and fact finding;  
  4. Critically apply interpretative legal rules relating to legislation and case law including codification of common law principles in contemporary cases;  
  5. Collaborate and utilise primary and secondary sources and apply research methods to evaluate and synthesis principles of evidence as law reform; and  
  6. Advocate and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas about principles of law to a range of professional and non-professional audiences.  

Assessment

Assessment type Description Grade
Presentation Group in-class presentation 10%
Assignment Group assignment - analysis of Case Study 40%
Examination Final exam 50%

Required reading

The class materials, tutorial problems and additional readings found on VU Collaborate provide the materials covered each week in lectures and tutorials.

Uniform Evidence 3rd edn
Gans, Palmer & Robert, 2019
Oxford University Press

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