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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

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 basic threshold of relevance

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

Topic 3: Testimony from witnesses: competence and compellability 

Topic 4: The hearsay rule: its rationale and boundaries

Topic 5: Exceptions to the hearsay rule

Topic 6: Opinion evidence, experts, and identification

Topic 7: Tendency, coincidence and character evidence; sexual history of rape victims

Topic 8: Confessions/ admissions against interest; the right to silence

Topic 9: Discretions to exclude prejudicial evidence; judicial warnings; corroboration

Topic 10: Privileges

Topic 11: Cross-examination; credibility evidence; vulnerable witnesses

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.

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
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
  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

Prescribed texts

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future teaching periods.