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Unit information: Evidence in 2018/19

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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

LAWD10014 Criminal Law



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;
  • confessions and illegally obtained 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

20 lectures and 7 seminars

Assessment Details

2 formative assessments: 1 x 1,500 word coursework. Formative assessments do not count towards final mark and can be optional.

1 summative assessment: 1 x 3 hour exam in the Summer Exam Period. Summative assessments do count towards final mark.

The assessments 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 8th ed 2015) followed by Advanced Reading (in particular ‘The Law of Evidence’ by I. Dennis, Sweet & Maxwell 5th ed 2013) - 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 4th ed 2015);
  • Andrew Choo: Evidence (OUP 3rd ed.2015)