Course Title: Law of evidence

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: LAW5186

Course Title: Law of evidence

School: 650T TAFE Business

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

  John Marshall will take groups LP2A and LP2B for both lectures and tutorials.

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


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

Students will study Law of Evidence theory and skills in class sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. The concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments.


Teaching Schedule

 

 WeekTopicAssessment
 Week 1 – 6 Feb What is the Law of Evidence? 10% participation over semester
 Week 2 – 13 Feb Convincing the court 
 Week 3 – 20 Feb Presentation of a case and "no case to answer" 
 Week 4 – 27 Feb
 Examination in chief 
 Week 5 – 5 Mar Cross-examination and re-examination 
 Week 6 – 13 Mar Competence and compellability of witnessesMon public holiday (Labour Day)
 Week 7 – 19 Mar Relevance and the rule against hearsay 
 Week 8 – 26Mar First test 40% Open book ( 2 hours)
  5 to 11 April Student vacation 
 Week 9 – 16 AprilExceptions to the hearsay rule - admissions and confessions 
 Week 10 – 23 April Exceptions to the hearsay rule ( cont.) 
 Week 11 – 30 April Opinion evidence
 Week 12 – 7 May Evidence of Character 
 Week 13 – 14 May Evidence of Character 
 Week 14 – 21 May Corroboration and Preparation of a Case 
 Week 15 – 28 MayReview 
 Week 16 – 4 June
 Final ExamFinal Exam (2.0 hours –
open book) 50%
 Week 17 – 11 June Deferred assessment and student consultations (FT students - Practical placement) (Mon public holiday)
 Week 18 – 18 June Student feedback and review of assessment (FT students - Practical placement) 


Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Uniform Evidence Law, Odgers, S.  9th edition, Thompson Reuters


References

Uniform Evidence Law, Anderson & Bayne, 2nd Edition. Federation Press


Other Resources

Legislation (all Acts available online)

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)
Evidence Act 1958 (Vic)
Evidence Act 2008 (Vic)
Evidence Act 1995 (Cth)
Juries Act 2000 (Vic)

Online Resources

Australian Law Reports
Victorian Law Reports
Cross on Evidence on LexisNexis AU
(http://www.lexisnexis.com/au/legal) Access via the RMIT library Search it page (http://www.rmit.edu.au/library/searchit)
Austlii (http://www.austlii.edu.au)
Victorian Law Today (http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au)


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

Participation - 10 %

Test 1 - 40% open book

Final Exam
(2.0 hours – open book)     50%


Assessment Matrix

 Learning Outcomes <font size="2">Participation</font> Test 1  Final Test
 1.  Analyse and define the concept and general nature of evidence, and illustrate the different types of evidence and court procedures relating to evidence. X X X
 2.  Determine and analyse the standard of proof and burden of proof in civil and criminal cases, and specify types of presumptions. X X X
 3.  Define and assess a ’no case to answer’ submission to the court and examine the grounds of making such a submission. X X X
 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. X   X
 5.  Analyse the rule relating to relevance of evidence. X X X
 6.  Identify hearsay evidence and determine the rule excluding hearsay evidence and the exceptions to that rule. X X X
 7.  Determine the rules relating to competence and compellability of witnesses in relation to case study material. X  X
 8.  Determine the rule excluding opinion evidence as applied to case studies. X  X
 9.  Determine and assess the rules of evidence relating to the character of an accused person in relation to case study material. X  X
 10.  Assess and determine the circumstance under which corroborating evidence is required. X  X
 11.  Determine and evaluate the main considerations to be exercised by a legal practitioner when preparing a case for trial. X  X
 12.  Determine and evaluate the structure and provisions of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) as incorporated into the Victorian Legislation.
 X  X

Other Information

The complete syllabus for the Law of Evidence is on the course site on the RMIT Learning Hub at http://www.rmit.edu.au/learninghub  Please refer to it for details of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview