LL6057 - Law of Evidence (2023/24)
|Module approved to run in 2023/24
|Law of Evidence
|Credit rating for module
|Guildhall School of Business and Law
|Total study hours
|Running in 2023/24(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
The Law of Evidence is a core module for the LL.B. Criminal Law (Hons). It is an optional module for the other LL.B. courses; the B.A. Criminology and Law;
and the B.A. in Law.
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 aims of the module are as follows:
1. Students will acquire knowledge of the rules and ethics of the law of evidence, which have arisen both at common law and under statute.
2. Students will develop several key transferable skills, including independent research, critical analysis and cogent academic writing in the context of land law, emphasising the use of primary and secondary sources;
3. Students will enhance their employability by the development both of these skills, and by the practice of written communication activities (including summative) and oral communication activities (formative only).
1. Introduction to the Law of Evidence LO1, LO2 and LO3
2. The Burden and Standard of Proof LO1, LO2 and LO3
• Legal burden
• Evidential burden
• Reverse burden
3. The Admissibility of Evidence LO1, LO2 and LO3
• Identification evidence
• Improperly obtained evidence
• Hearsay and its exceptions
• Character evidence
• Expert and forensic evidence
• Evidence in sexual offences
• Right to silence
4. Witness Evidence LO1, LO2 and LO3
• Competence and compellability
• Witness examination
• Vulnerable witnesses
5. Judicial Ethics LO1, LO2 and LO3
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Learning and 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 WebLearn and IT resources;
• Whole group questions and discussion.
The seminar will be used for the development of skills necessary to attain the module learning outcomes through:
• Written and oral questions/answers designed to reinforce fundamental rules, principles and cases;
• A range of step-by-step analytical exercises;
• Problem solving;
• IT tasks, such as research of cases and statutes;
• Legal writing.
All learning materials, previous examination questions and sample Q/A’s will be on WebLearn 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.
Students’ 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.
On successful completion of this module, the students will be able to:
1. Apply the principles of the law of evidence to give advice in realistic case-studies scenarios.
2. Demonstrate the ability critically to dis
3. cuss case study problems relating to the topics covered in the syllabus.
4. Demonstrate the ability to write critical, discursive essays relating to the topics covered in the syllabus.
Written coursework (2,000 words maximum)
This will assess the ability cogently to discuss and critically analyse legal case studies and/or contemporary legal issues within the context of the law of evidence.