|Module Title||PRINCIPLES OF EVIDENCE|
|Co-ordinator||Mr Gavin Dingwall|
|Other staff||Mr Gavin Dingwall|
|Pre-Requisite||LA10110 or LA30110. LA10420 or LA30420|
|Course delivery||Lecture||20 Hours two one hour lectures per week|
|Seminar||4 Hours four one hour seminars|
|Assessment||Exam||1.5 Hours Students will be permitted to take copies of Blackstone's Statutes on Evidence into the examination. Forms two thirds of the total mark||66%|
|Essay||2000 word assessed essay required by week 10 of semester one Forms one third of the total mark||33%|
|Resit assessment||By retaking the failed element (ie written assignment or examination or both, as applicable)|
|Professional Exemptions||Not Required for Professional purposes|
The law of evidence governs the methods by which matters may be proved for the purposes of legal proceedings. It is therefore a subject of considerable practical importance, and one which impinges on almost every other area of law. Having the substantive law on your side (or on the side of your client) will be of little use if you cannot persuade the court or jury to believe your version of the facts, but you cannot do this unless you know what evidence will be acceptable to the court, and how it may be presented. English law does not apply the continental doctrine of "free appreciation of evidence". Instead, it applies a number of strict rules, prohibiting the use of certain kinds of evidence, even in some cases where common sense might suggest that they would be highly relevant. Other rules govern the examination and cross-examination of witnesses, and determine whether the testimony of a particular witness requires corroboration or support before it can be relied upon. These rules are often open to serious criticism, but must nevertheless be identified and understood. If an original document has been lost, will the court accept a copy instead? Will it accept the evidence of a young child? If an alleged rapist has previous convictions for sexual assault, should the jury be told? Would it make any difference if he was claiming to be of good character? Can inferences be drawn from the failure of a defendant to testify at his trial, or from his failure to answer questions following arrest? Does it matter whether evidence has been obtained by improper means? Should it matter, and if so why? The law of evidence also prescribes the allocation of the burden of proof as between the parties to litigation, and the standard of proof that must be satisfied. As a general rule, it is for the prosecution to discharge the burden of proof in criminal cases, and for the plaintiff or petitioner to do so in civil cases; but the general rule is littered with express and implied exceptions, which can make the study of this topic anything but straightforward.
Aims of the module
This module aims to introduce students to some of the key principles of evidence in the criminal trial. The module is specifically designed to get students to analyse the tensions in this controversial area of the law and to form their own views based on sound academic judgment.
To provide students with a clear introductory knowledge of the law of evidence in criminal trials;
To encourage students to critically consider the effectiveness of the existing law and how one can measure whether the law is acting in an effective manner;
To encourage students to critically consider the views of academic writers and reform groups;
To encourage students to debate ethical questions concerning the operation of the criminal justice process;
To develop group work through the use of a number of semi-structured seminar exercises;
Through the above, to develop independent and transferable analytical skills.
1. Introduction to the Law of Evidence
2. The Burden of Proof
2.1 The different burdens and the rule in Woolmington.
2.2 Implied statutory exceptions.
3. Competence and Compellability of Witnesses
4. Protecting Witnesses
5. Examination in Chief
5.1 Introduction, leading questions and previous consistent statements.
5.2 Refreshing the memory and adverse and hostile witnesses.
6. Cross Examination
6.1 The general rules of cross examination.
6.2 Cross examining complaints in sexual cases.
7. Identification Evidence
7.1 Introduction and the Turnbull rules.
7.2 The rules in Code D of PACE.
8.1 Introduction and defining a confession.
8.2 Oppression and admissibility.
9. Illegally, Improperly and Unfairly Obtained Evidence
9.1 The Common Law position.
9.2 Entrapment and s.78 of PACE.
9.3 Restrictions to the general position.
10. The Character of the Accused
10.1 Similar fact evidence from Makin to Boardman.
10.2 Similar fact evidence from Boardman to the present.
10.3 The Criminal Evidence Act 1898, s.1(f)(ii).
** Recommended Text
Raymond N Emson. (1999) Evidence. Macmillan Law Masters
** Consult For Futher Information
Andrews & Hirst. (1997) Criminal Evidence. 3rd.
Blackstones. Criminal Practice 2000, Section F.
Criminal Law Review.
** Recommended Text
Blackstone's. Statutes on Evidence.