module specification

LL5052 - Law of Evidence (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Law of Evidence
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
 
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Written Coursework (2,000 - 2,500 words)
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The Law of Evidence concerns the information which it is permitted to use to enable the claimant or prosecution to establish their case against a defendant, or to enable the defendant to refute the allegations made against him.

It is not every supposed fact that may be brought in evidence in a trial, as the court has limited time and resources to hear everything – however trivial – that the parties might wish to throw into the debate, and there are a host of issues relating to such matters as unfairness or undue prejudice (especially to the defendant in a criminal case), mistakes, unreliability of witnesses, human rights and public policy which might impact on the propriety of permitting certain statements or documents to be admitted as evidence.

This module examines the rules and ethics of the law of evidence, which have arisen both at common law and under statute, and invites to students critically to analyse these principles both in a theoretical context, and by practical application to realistic case-studies.

The module aims to develop several key transferable skills including independent research, critical analysis, legal drafting and academic writing in the context of the law of evidence, emphasising the use of primary and secondary sources of law.

Student employability will be enhanced by the development of these skills, especially in
relation to students who wish to pursue a career involving contentious litigation, court
advocacy or law enforcement agencies such as the police force.

Syllabus

1. Introduction to the Law of Evidence    LO 1 and 2

2. The Burden and Standard of Proof     LO 1 and 2

3. The Admissibility of Evidence             LO 1 and 2

Identification evidence
Improperly obtained evidence
Confessions
Hearsay and its exceptions
Character evidence
Expert and forensic evidence
Evidence in sexual offences

4. Witness Evidence                             LO 1 and 2

Burden a standard of proof
Competence and compellability
Witness examination
Vulnerable witnesses

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning & Teaching Strategy

Weekly two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar. 

The lecture will be used for:

Dissemination of knowledge through an overview of each topic with detailed guidance on appropriate aspects;
An introduction to relevant academic literature;
Guidance on learning strategies;
Use of blackboard and IT resources;
Whole group questions and discussion.

The seminar will be used for:

Development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:
Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules/principles/cases;
A range of step by step writing exercises;
IT tasks such as research of cases and statutes
Problem-solving
Critical analysis
Legal writing
Oral presentation
Oral communication
Teamwork

Blended Learning

All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on blackboard for use in directed private study.

Student engagement will be encouraged in both lectures and seminars through weekly use of Weblearn for access to all of the above materials.

There will be required use of the professional legal databases, especially Westlaw and Lexis Library, for legal research

Opportunities for reflective learning/pdp

Each weekly seminar will contain space for students to reflect on what they have learnt in relation to the overall syllabus. There will be frequent feedback opportunities structured into the timetable and a range of sample answers posted onto Weblearn.


Employability

Employability strategy will aim to acquaint students with a range of employment
avenues both in the legal profession and in those professions into which legal
qualifications and skills are transferable.

The study of evidence is especially important to students who wish to pursue a career
involving contentious litigation, court advocacy or law enforcement agencies such as
the police force.

Student’s Study Responsibilities

The need for attendance, punctuality, preparation and engagement will be emphasised with particular reference to written and IT research, problem-solving, team-work, discussion, debate and critical awareness of the subject.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:

1. Interpret and apply the principles of the law of evidence to give advice in realistic case-studies scenarios.

2. Research, appraise and critically analyse contemporary issues relating to the law of evidence.

Assessment strategy

Written Coursework (2,000 – 2,500 words in total)

A piece of coursework in two parts:

i) A  practical case-study in which the students will be asked to give reasoned advice to a client relating to the admissibility of certain evidence in a case.

ii) A research-based essay, requiring a critical analysis of a contemporary issue in the law of evidence.

Bibliography

Core Texts:
Keane, A and McKeown, P, The Modern Law of Evidence (OUP)

Other Texts:

Gover, R, Murphy on Evidence (OUP)
Durston, G, Evidence Text and Materials (OUP)

Journals:

Law Quarterly Review

Electronic Databases:

Westlaw and Lexis Library