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Location Domestic International
Gold Coast
Lismore
Online

Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Advanced

Former School/College

Former School of Law and Justice

Unit aim

Introduces and examines the general principles of the rules of evidence and the application of those rules in the determination of civil and criminal disputes. Considers the sources and acceptability of evidence, the burden and standards of proof, and the rules concerning hearsay admissions and confessions, illegally obtained evidence and res gestae. Critically examines the effectiveness of these principles in achieving their objectives in the legal system.

Unit content

Topic 1: Introduction to the law of evidence: the threshold of relevance

Topic 2: Burden and standard of proof; presumptions and inferences

Topic 3: Testimonial evidence from witnesses: competence and compellability 

Topic 4: The hearsay rule, its rationale and its boundaries

Topic 5: Exceptions to the hearsay rule

Topic 6: Identification, expert opinions and other opinion evidence

Topic 7: Similar fact (tendency, propensity and coincidence) evidence; character evidence; sexual history of rape victims

Topic 8: Confessions/ admissions/ statements against interest

Topic 9: Discretions and broad duties to exclude evidence; judicial warnings; corroboration

Topic 10: Privileges

Topic 11: Examination of witnesses; credibility evidence; vulnerable witnesses; the right to silence

Topic 12: Documents; real evidence

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 demonstrate an understanding of the criteria by which common law and legislation in Australian jurisdictions admit or reject evidence
2 explain and evaluate the use to be made of evidence in civil and criminal proceedings
3 distinguish and evaluate the different burdens of proof which apply to civil and criminal proceedings
4 apply applicable legal principles to specific factual circumstances and synthesise responses which are appropriate in a legal professional environment and which demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the issues.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the criteria by which common law and legislation in Australian jurisdictions admit or reject evidence
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  2. explain and evaluate the use to be made of evidence in civil and criminal proceedings
    • GA1:
    • GA4:
  3. distinguish and evaluate the different burdens of proof which apply to civil and criminal proceedings
    • GA4:
  4. apply applicable legal principles to specific factual circumstances and synthesise responses which are appropriate in a legal professional environment and which demonstrate detailed knowledge and understanding of the issues.
    • GA4:
    • GA6:

Prescribed texts

  • (Note: e-copies of textbooks cannot be taken into the examination room with you. Even in open-book exams, only materials written or printed on paper are permitted - electronic devices are not): Hemming, A, Kumar, M & Peden, E, 2013, Evidence: Commentary & Materials ("HK&P"), 8th edn, Thomson Reuters Australia, Australia. ISBN: 9780455230733 .
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.