Course Title: Define and evaluate law of evidence

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: LAW5718

Course Title: Define and evaluate law of evidence

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6141 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact: Robert Sheen

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5759

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

John Marshall

Course coordinator


9925 5453


Nominal Hours: 50

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


Course Description

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to employ rules of evidence and procedure as they apply to civil and criminal trials, and to analyse and evaluate evidence available in connection with the preparation of a case for trial, in order to support the work of a legal office, practice or associated context.

This unit supports the work of personnel engaged in the operation of a legal office, insurance company or associated fields within public and/or corporate sectors.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU21635 Define and evaluate law of evidence


1.Analyse the concept of evidence and identify court procedures relating to evidence

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Define and illustrate the term and general nature of evidence 1.2 Identify and describe the real, oral, direct, circumstantial, original, hearsay, primary, secondary, and, documentary types of evidence 1.3 Discuss the rationale behind the rules and court procedures dealing with evidence 1.4 Examine the no case to answer submission to court/s in relation to criminal cases, civil cases, and election in civil cases


2.Determine and analyse the standard of proof and burden of proof in civil and criminal cases, and specify types of presumptions

Performance 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 Determine and describe the specific elements, facts in issue and possible defences related to area/s of substantive law 2.5 Identify and debate the types of presumptions and their effects 2.6 Explain the phrase facts that do not have to be proved and analyse its application


3.Analyse and apply the rule relating to relevance of evidence

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Analyse the concept of relevance of evidence in relation to facts in issue and credit 3.2 Determine and apply the appropriate test/s of relevance of evidence 3.3 Identify and compare evidence that is directly relevant with that which is indirectly relevant 3.4 Examine and apply the rules for: relevance of evidence; provisional relevance of evidence, and, inferences to relevance of evidence


4.Analyse and evaluate the rules governing examination of evidence in the conduct of a civil or criminal trial

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Evaluate and discuss the rules in relation to examination in chief 4.2 Analyse and discuss 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 and discuss the term, purpose, and procedure for Voir Dire


5.Determine the rules relating to competence and compellability of witnesses

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Compare and contrast the terms competent 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 Identify and discuss the privileges that may exempt a person from answering questions


6.Analyse and apply statutory and common law rules which provide the basis for evidence to be excluded

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Review the rule against hearsay, including exceptions to the rule, in relation to: • first-hand hearsay • business records • electronic communications • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional laws and customs • reputation • interlocutory proceedings 6.2 Review the rule excluding opinion evidence, including 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 Review 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 the admissibility of evidence relating to tendency and coincidence is determined 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 Determine and review the admissibility of identification evidence in a criminal trial 6.9 Analyse and assess the nature and context of privileges in relation to evidence 6.10 Review 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


7.Determine the circumstances under which a trial judge may give warnings to a jury

Performance Criteria:

7.1 Describe and evaluate the reasons why a warning may be given to a jury 7.2 Describe and discuss the effect of the Evidence Act 2008 on corroboration warnings 7.3 Identify and assess the circumstances under which a judge may still give a corroboration warning


8.Determine and evaluate the main considerations to be exercised by a legal practitioner when preparing a case for trial

Performance Criteria:

8.1 Determine the fundamentals in the preparation of a case 8.2 Identify the important elements of collection, form and content, in the gathering of proof of evidence and assess for application 8.3 Identify the process in compelling the production of evidence and evaluate for application 8.4 Determine the processes for tendering types of evidence, such as: documents; photographs; maps and plans; real evidence, and views 8.5 Describe and discuss the purpose and content of opening and closing addresses


9.Explore and comply with the Victorian Uniform Evidence Act

Performance Criteria:

9.1 Research and document the history of the development of Uniform Evidence Legislation 9.2 Research and discuss the objectives and justification for the introduction of the Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) 9.3 Identify and describe the structure and provisions of the Evidence Act 2008 (Vic) and its relationship with the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) and assess for application to practice

Learning Outcomes


Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning activities are planned for this course including self-paced and collaborative classroom-based activities.

The self-paced activities will be delivered through various technology platforms and may include your contribution to wikis and discussion threads, reflective journals, quizzes and interactive sessions.

The collaborative classroom-based activities will include group discussions, group problem-solving activities and opportunities to practice your skills in a simulated/real workplace environment. We expect you to participate and contribute in all scheduled learning activities.



Teaching Schedule

Induction Session

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:
    • Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
    • 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 Teaching Schedule for this course is as follows. (Please note that this schedule is subject to change)


Week No.



Assessment tasks


 Feb 10

What is the law of evidence and what may be evidence

Weekly assessments as advised in class and via Blackboard


 Feb 17

How must prove what and to what level, and presumptions of law.



 Feb 24

Evidence to be admissible must be relevant.



 Mar 3

Conducting a case, evidence in chief and cross examination.



 Mar 10

Competence, compellability and privilege relating to witnesses.



 Mar 17

What is “hearsay”



 Mar 24

Exceptions to the Hearsay rule



 Mar 31

Grounds for exclusion of relevant evidence.



 Apr 7

Jury warnings



 Apr 14

Self-directed study


MID-SEMESTER BREAK:- Apr 13 – Apr 19 (No scheduled classes)


 Apr 21

Issues surrounding credibility evidence



 Apr 28

Identification evidence and Tendency and coincidence evidence.



 May 5

History of the law of Evidence in Victoria



 May 12

Preparing a brief for trial



 May 19





 May 26




 Jun 2

Final Assessment

 Open-book, in class (2 hours)





Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

J Gans and A Palmer, Uniform Evidence (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2014).


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

In order to demonstrate competency in this unit, you must provide evidence of:

• following correct procedures for the evaluation and submission of evidence in a criminal or civil case
• 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 interpretation of legal terminology and fundamental concepts relevant to types of evidence and the law of evidence
• knowledge and application of the various rules of evidence and exceptions to such rules
• knowledge of Federal and State legislation and provisions relevant to Law of Evidence
• analysis and evaluation of evidence available in connection with the preparation of a case for trial

Context for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

• activities are related to a legal practice context
• activities are related to laws, regulations and procedures currently operating across the jurisdictions relevant to this qualification

You are advised that you are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate your assessment work to your teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.


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.

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

Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

Assessment Tasks


Assessment Tasks

Assessment will be ongoing throughout the semester using tutorial problems, quizzes and case studies. Students must submit and satisfactorily complete all assessments to be deemed competent in this course.

The final assessment will be a combination of case studies, quizzes and topic specific questions. This assessment will be open book, conducted in class, and be of two hours duration. Students must satisfactorily complete all questions to be deemed competent.

Only after competency has been achieved, your assessment will be graded according to the Marking Guide shown later in this document.



Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Submission Requirements

You should:

  • Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date.
  • Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks (both hard copy and soft copy).
  • Use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship when you submit work for assessment at RMIT University. 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 must declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of each assessment task is available on Blackboard.
  • Include a footer (appearing on each page of your assessment) with your name, student number, assessment title, course code, course title and page numbers. For example, Johnny Masha, s123456, Task 2, LAW5718, Page 1 of 2.

Late Submission Procedures

You are required to submit assessment items and/or ensure performance based assessment is completed by the due dates.

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment item on time, by circumstances outside your control, you may apply in advance to your teacher for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days. For more Information go to:

The application form may be obtained from:

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. For more Information go to:;ID=g43abm17hc9w

The application form may be obtained from:

Resubmissions (VE Programs):

You must satisfactorily complete all assessment tasks in order to achieve competency.

If an assessment task is assessed as not yet satisfactory, you will be allowed one resubmission opportunity only. Your teacher will provide feedback detailing what you need to do in order to satisfactorily complete that task, and will set a new deadline for the resubmission within the current semester.

If your resubmission is deemed to be not yet satisfactory then you must apply in writing to your course coordinator outlining the steps you will take to demonstrate competence in that course. Your submission will be considered by the course coordinator and you will be advised of the outcome as soon as practical.

If your resubmission is deemed satisfactory then you may still achieve competency for the course, provided that all other assessment tasks are satisfactorily completed. Further, if this satisfactory resubmission is of a task that contributes to the overall grading of this course, then it shall only be entitled to receive a score that equates to 50% of the total marks allocated for that task.

Adjustments to Assessment

In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which an adjustment to the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:;ID=7usdbki1fjf31

Marking Guide (Competency)

You must demonstrate through your performance in the Course Assessment Tasks that you have all the required skills and knowledge as specified in the unit of competency (course) you are studying.

Your submitted assessments are the evidence used to determine if you have met all critical aspects of the assessments, and if any critical aspects have not been met, then you cannot be deemed competent in this course.

On each assessment task you will receive feedback against the competency requirements for that task, and the outcome of the task will be recorded as either satisfactory (all requirements have been met) or not yet satisfactory (one or more requirements has not yet been met).

Only when all assessment tasks have been assessed as satisfactory will you be deemed competent in this course.

Marking Guide (Grading)

This course is graded. However, only after achieving competency in this course will you receive a grade corresponding to your level of performance in the course. 

The reported Final Grade will be one of the following:


 Competent with High Distinction


 Competent with Distinction


 Competent with Credit


 Competency Achieved – Graded


 Not Yet Competent (all assessment tasks submitted)


 Did Not Submit (one or more assessment tasks not submitted)

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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview