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

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Credit points:
Unit code:


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 and criminal procedure with the relevant substantive law;  
  2. Apply autonomous knowledge of evidence and criminal procedure law and other substantive law with well-developed judgment and responsibility to resolving complex issues of proof exemplifying creative and innovative problem solving;  
  3. Analyse and evaluate the impact of social, political and technological developments on the balancing of ethical and human rights claims around principles of evidence and criminal procedure law under globalisation;  
  4. 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;  
  5. Critically apply interpretative legal rules relating to legislation and case law including codification of common law principles in complex contemporary cases;  
  6. Collaborate and utilise advanced skills to select primary and secondary sources and apply research methods to evaluate and synthesis principles of evidence and criminal procedure law as law reform; and  
  7. Advocate and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas about principles of law to a range of professional and non-professional audiences.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Presentation Case presentation, moot court 15%
Research Paper Group assignment 35%
Examination 2.5 hour exam 50%
The total assessment in this unit is equivalent to 6,000 words.

Required reading

Required texts no. 1 Recommended Reading nos 2, 3, 4

Uniform Evidence Law 12th ed
Odger S. 2016

Cross on Evidence loose-leaf 1992
Heydon JD 1992

Cross on Evidence 10th ed
Heydon, JD 2014

Australian Evidence 5th ed
Ligertwood A and Edmond G

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

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