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Unit information: Evidence in 2020/21

Unit name Evidence
Unit code LAWD20038
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Mr. George
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Having studied Criminal Law, you will have seen the importance of particular facts in determining the guilt or innocence of the accused. But what information about the case is the court allowed to hear? Who, for example, is allowed to give evidence in a criminal trial and are there any restrictions in what they are allowed to say? This subject is a vital component in any future advocate's training.

This unit will examine:

  • The adversarial system;
  • Competence and compellability of witnesses;
  • Burden and standard of proof;
  • Character evidence;
  • Hearsay evidence.

Intended learning outcomes

When presented with a set of facts you should be able to:

  • Identify the evidential issues arising from those facts;
  • Cite relevant case law and statutory authority;
  • Explain how that authority applies to the evidential issues raised by the facts, or how the facts may be distinguished;
  • Draw a reasoned conclusion as to how those issues may be resolved.
  • Present arguments for and against the proposition, citing relevant authorities and the views of other writers, and assessing the weight of their arguments;
  • Cite judicial and statutory authorities which support or rebut the proposition;
  • Examine any relevant reform proposals;
  • Draw a reasoned conclusion as to whether you agree or disagree with the proposition.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Details

1 x summative assessment: Timed Open Book Assessment with a specified word count (100%)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

The law of Evidence is complex and dense. Accordingly students are directed to Basic Reading (in particular the textbook ‘Evidence’ by R. Munday (OUP 10th ed 2019) followed by Advanced Reading (in particular ‘The Law of Evidence’ by I. Dennis, Sweet & Maxwell 6th ed 2017) - the latter providing a more detailed and critical survey best approached after undertaking the introductory reading.

Additional textbooks often have utility. Under the heading Basic/Introductory Reading one might consider the following:

  • Doak and McGourlay: Evidence in Context (Routledge 6th ed 2019);
  • Andrew Choo: Evidence (OUP 7th ed.2019).