Course Title: Law of evidence

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: LAW5186

Course Title: Law of evidence

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact: Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact Email: doug.gourlay@rmit.edu.au


Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Your teacher for Semester 1 2016 is John Marshall.

John Marshall

Email: john.marshall@rmit.edu.au

Ph 99255453

Level 5, Building 80, Swanston Academic Building, Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Availability: by appointment only Monday to Thursday 8.30 am to 5.30 p.m.

Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process

Course Description

To provide learners with detailed knowledge and skills in the rules of evidence and procedure as they apply to civil and criminal trials as might be relevant to a person working in a legal office, an insurance company or associated fields in the public or corporate sectors. Knowledge of the rules of evidence will enable analysis and evaluation of evidence available in connection with the preparation of a case for trial.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20110 Law of evidence

Element:

N/A

Performance Criteria:

N/A


Learning Outcomes


Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse and define the concept and general nature of evidence, and illustrate the different types of evidence and court procedures relating to evidence.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Define the term ‘evidence’ and illustrate its general nature.
1.2 Analyse the different types of evidence with reference to:
• real
• oral
• direct
• circumstantial
• original
• hearsay
• primary
• secondary
• documentary.
1.3 Validate the rationale behind the rules and court procedures dealing with evidence.
1.4 Define and assess a “no case to answer” submission to the court and examine the grounds of making such a submission with reference to:
• a “no case to answer” submission in a criminal case
• a “no case to answer” submission in a civil case
• election in civil cases.

Learning Outcome 2 - Determine and analyse the standard of proof and burden of proof in civil and criminal cases, and specify types of presumptions.
Assessment criteria
2.1 Specify the standard of proof in civil and criminal cases.
2.2 Specify the standard of proof applicable to determining the admissibility of evidence
2.3 Establish the importance of the burden of proof in civil and criminal cases.
2.4 Analyse an area of substantive law and identify its elements, facts in issue and possible defences.
2.5 Determine types of presumptions and their effect.
2.6 Determine and locate examples of facts that do not have to be proved.

Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse the rule relating to relevance of evidence.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Analyse the concept of relevance of evidence in relation to facts in issue and credit.
3.2 Identify appropriate test of relevance,
3.3 Identify and compare evidence that is directly and indirectly relevant
3.4 Identify the relevant rules relating to:
• Relevance
• Provisional relevance
• Inferences to relevance

Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse and evaluate the rules governing examination in chief, cross examination and re-examination, and establish the procedures in the conduct of a civil or criminal trial.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Evaluate the rules in relation to examination in chief.
4.2 Analyse and evaluate the rules of cross examination.
4.3 Evaluate and apply the concept and rules of re-examination in relation to the purpose and restrictions on questions that may be asked
4.4 Identify the circumstances in which evidence is permitted to be used in rebuttal.
4.5 Define the term ‘Voire Dire’, stipulating its purpose and the procedure involved.

Learning Outcome 5 - Determine the rules relating to competence and compellability of witnesses in relation to case study material.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Define the terms competence and compellable and distinguish a competent witness from a compellable witness.
5.2 Determine those persons who may not be competent and compellable witnesses.
5.3 Define and determine privileges that may exempt a person from answering questions.

Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse, evaluate and assess the framework of statutory and common law rules which provide the basis for evidence to be excluded.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Evaluate the rule against hearsay and determine its exceptions with reference to:
• First-hand hearsay
• Business records
• Electronic communications
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional laws and customs
• Reputation
• Interlocutory proceedings.
6.2 Assess the rule excluding opinion evidence and determine exceptions to the rule in relation to:
• Evidence relevant for a purpose other than as opinion evidence
• Lay opinions
• Expert opinions – opinions based on specialised knowledge
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional laws and customs.
6.3 Determine and assess the rules of evidence relating to admissions with reference to:
• Exclusion of evidence of admissions
• Reliability of admissions by defendants
• Admissions made with authority
• Proof of admissions
• Evidence of silence.
6.4 Determine admissibility of evidence of judgments and convictions.
6.5 Determine and assess the admissibility of evidence relating to tendency and coincidence.
6.6 Analyse the concept of credibility of a witness with reference to:
• Admissibility of evidence as to credibility
• Examination and cross-examination of witnesses
• Credibility of persons who are not witnesses
• Persons with specialised knowledge.
6.7 Determine and assess the rules of evidence relating to the character of an accused person with reference to:
• Character in the context of the rules of evidence
• Relevance of character evidence
• Similar fact exception rule
• Evidence about character of the accused and co-accused
• Cross-examination of character of accused or co-accused.
6.8 Analyse and assess the admissibility of identification, evidence in a criminal trial.
6.9 Evaluate and assess the nature and context of privileges in relation to evidence.
6.10 Assess the nature of judicial discretion to exclude evidence including and with reference to:
• General discretion to limit or exclude
• Prejudicial evidence in criminal proceedings
• Improperly obtained evidence
• Cautioning of suspected offenders.

Learning Outcome 7 - Assess and determine the circumstances under which a trial judge may give warnings to a jury.
Assessment Criteria
7.1 Assess and evaluate the reasons why a warning may be given to a jury.
7.2 Identify the effect of the Evidence Act 2008 on corroboration warnings.
7.3 Assess under what circumstances a judge may still give a corroboration warning.

Learning Outcome 8 - Determine and evaluate the main considerations to be exercised by a legal practitioner when preparing a case for trial.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Determine the fundamentals in the preparation of a case.
8.2 Specify the important elements in the gathering of proof of evidence with reference to:
• collection
• form
• content.
8.3 Evaluate the process in compelling the production of evidence.
8.4 Determine the process involved in the tendering of types of evidence in relation to:
• documents
• photographs
• maps and plans
• real evidence
• views.
8.5 Demonstrate and evaluate opening and closing addresses, including their purpose and content.

Learning Outcome 9 - Determine and evaluate the structure and provisions of the Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) and its relationship with the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth).
Assessment criteria
9.1 Trace the history of Uniform Evidence Legislation.
9.2 Assess the objectives and justification for the introduction of the Evidence Act 2008 (Vic).


Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning experiences are planned for this course including workshop and online activities, group problem solving and group debates.

Note: Workshops and group activities are offered subject to class size. Where class numbers are very small there will be no workshops or group activities.


Teaching Schedule

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

• Program overview and requirements
• MyRMIT/Blackboard
• Overview of assessment requirements
• Pre-Training Review including:
  o Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
  o Assessment of current skills and knowledge
• Competency/Grading Criteria
• Plagiarism
• Appeals
• Extensions
• Feedback
• Privacy
• Submission requirements
• Resubmission policy
• Where to get support
• Student responsibilities
 
The nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Delivery schedule

There is no weekly teaching schedule for delivery of course content as the purpose of this offering is to provide you with the necessary support required to assist you to satisfactorily complete the required assessments.

This is a course offering designed for ‘repeating students’ (i.e. those students who have previously enrolled in this course, but who have not satisfactorily completed all of the assessment requirements for this course). It is not intended that the course content be re-taught (or taught for the first time) and so the course will comprise a series of scheduled, facilitated workshops (if enrolment numbers are sufficient) or, where enrolment numbers don’t warrant the use of workshops, a mentoring system whereby you will engage with your course teacher at a mutually agreed time to receive the same kind of support that might otherwise have been provided in a facilitated workshop.

At any rate, the focus of the workshops or mentoring arrangements is the preparation for, and undertaking of, whatever assessments are need to complete the requirements of this course.

Notes:

(1) Your class teacher will confirm the schedule of workshops (where applicable).

(2) If you have enrolled in this course with the belief or understanding that you would receive regular, classroom content teaching, then you are advised to withdraw from this course prior to census date, unless you now wish to accept the proposed mode of delivery for repeating classes as described earlier in this section.

 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

J. Gans and A. Plamer, Uniform Evidence (Melbourne:  Oxford University Press, 2010) R. B. Wilson, Nutshell Series:  Evidence (Sydney:  Thomson Reuters, 3rd Edition, 2010)


References

Wilson, R.B. Evidence, Third Edition, Nutshell Series, Law Book Co.


Other Resources

It is recommended that you have access to a mobile computing device to allow greater flexibility in terms of where you can work on campus outside class times.


Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks, such as: 

• Practical exercise
• Written tests
• Written assignment
• Case study analysis
• Final examination

Students are advised that they are likely to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met. Students will be provided with feedback throughout the course to check their progress.


Assessment Tasks

To pass this course you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard.  The specific requirements for this course are outlined in your course and assessment guides. You will be assessed against your skills and knowledge and will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you whether you have performed to industry standard or not and how well you are performing.
 

To demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes in this course the following evidence is essential:

• Knowledge and interpretation of legal terminology and fundamental concepts relevant to the law of evidence
• Analysis of standard of proof and burden of proof in civil and criminal cases
• Evaluation of the rules governing examination in chief, cross examination and re-examination
• Determination of the rules relating to competence and compellability of witnesses
• Knowledge and application of the various rules of evidence and exceptions to such rules to given fact situations
• Examination of circumstances where a corroboration warning is given
• Analysis and evaluation of evidence available in connection with the preparation of a case for trial
• Examination of the Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) and its relationship with the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth).

 

Assessment Task 1 - Mid- semester Test (40%)
Due Date: 
Week 8
Submission Procedure:  in class assessment.  To be handed in as per teacher’s instructions.

The purpose of this assessment is for you to demonstrate understanding of fundamental terminology and concepts relevant to the law of evidence as covered in week 1-6

Assessment Task 2 - Open book Final Test (60%)
Due Date:   week 16
Submission Procedure: in class assessment.  To be handed in as per teacher’s instructions.

The purpose of this assessment is to demonstrate understanding of law of evidence concepts covered in the course (weeks 1-14)

Feedback

Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions.  You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed.  Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.
 


Assessment Matrix

Marking Guide:

Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or NYC. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100HDHigh Distinction
70-79DIDistinction
60-69CRCredit
50-59PAPass
0-49NNFail
DNSDNSDid Not Submit for assessment
 

 

 

 

 

 

Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:
• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date:
   • If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for extensions of time. (Please refer to the information in the Late Submission Procedure section below)
   • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (hard copy and soft copy).
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration
and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for
assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for
assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available on
Blackboard.
• Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment,
unit code and title and page numbers.

Late Submission Procedures

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
  More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/students/assessment/extension
  Form to use: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/seca86tti4g4z.pdf

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=g43abm17hc9w (unresolved)
Form to use: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/8a5dgcaqvaes1.pdf

Resubmissions:
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or Not Yet Competent.

Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment.  For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=kehn9bz22r41 (unresolved)

Course Overview: Access Course Overview