Law of Evidence

Module summary

Module code: LAW0809
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Law and Criminology
Module Coordinator(s): Louise Hewitt

Specification

Pre and co requisites

Criminal Law, Law of Torts, Contract Law.

Aims

The Law of Evidence, although not a designated ‘core’ subject, is fundamental to the practice of the Law. An understanding of the substantive principles of legal liability needs to be complemented with an equally thorough understanding of the methods of proof and the rules which govern the admissibility of evidence. In other words, the Law of Evidence goes beyond an understanding of what the Law ‘is’ towards ‘how is the Law to be proved’. The course is aimed primarily at those students who intend to qualify as legal practitioners and therefore adopts a stance that is both practical and skills-based. This reflected in the syllabus, the course content, the teaching and the method of assessment. The Law of Evidence is also an interesting academic course in its own right, dealing with the basics of legal method, Law and language and legal reasoning and legal logic. The subject also raises issues of the protection of human rights, in particular the right to a fair trial, and these issues are integrated into the entire course in a holistic manner.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

1 Effectively use the skills of academic legal writing, legal argumentation and legal research appropriate to Level 6 including accurate legal terminology.

2 Explain and illustrate rules and principles of key areas of the law of evidence.
3 Apply rules of evidence to a range of scenarios reaching plausible and reasoned conclusions.

4 Explain and critically evaluate judicial warnings to the jury.

5 Critically examine the public policy issues concerning the law of evidence, especially those pertinent to the right to a fair trial.

Indicative content

The course will include the following:
witness testimony;
adverse inferences
hearsay evidence;
confessions;
the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence;
the burden and standard of proof;
character evidence
expert opinion and forensic evidence



Teaching and learning activity


The main teaching activities will be lectures and seminars. In addition, two simulation exercises involving role play with mock clients (one dealing with civil law and one with criminal law) are built into the teaching and assessment. Wherever possible, attempts will be made to introduce moots, presentations and client interviewing sessions.
Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)
Scheduled contact hours: Note: include in scheduled time: project supervision, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in studio or workshop, scheduled lab wor , fieldwork, external visits.
Lectures 48; seminars 24; supervised practical sessions 0; tutorials 0; formative assessment 12; other scheduled time 0. Guided independent study: Note: include in guided independent study preparation for scheduled sessions, follow up work, wider reading or practice, revision. Independent coursework 108; Independent laboratory work 0; other non-scheduled time 108. Placements & year abroad: Work placements 0; Work based learning 0; Year abroad 0; Other placement 0. Total hours (Should be equal to credit x 10) 300.

Assessment

Legal Problem Based Question: 30% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Outline Details: A legal problem question will require students to demonstrate their problem solving skills using the legal rules they have learnt on the module. 2000 words.

Annotated bibliography (linked to essay below): 20% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1 & 2.
Outline Details: An annotated bibliography will require students to read seven sources (journals, books etc) and provide a brief annotation of each. This will feed directly into their last piece of coursework which is an essay. The sources they research here will be used in their essay. 1000 words.

Essay: 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.
Outline Details: The essay will be require students to demonstrate their understanding of the foundational principles in the law of evidence including the presumption of innocence, the right to examine witnesses, and the admissibility of evidence. 3000 words.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Formative assessments are undertaken in the form of presentations, practice questions and in class discussions where feedback is given verbally and in writing. One of the key formative assessments will be an essay plan alongside the annotated bibliography that will provide feedback that can be fed directly into the last assessment which is the essay.