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Unit information: Evidence in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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

Description including Unit Aims

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;
  • opinion evidence.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Explain the principal rules and central themes of the law of Evidence.
  • Subject relevant case law and statute to critical evaluation.
  • Make a critical assessment of specific areas of the law of Evidence and
  • Review the objectives and effect of the rules governing the admissibility of evidence
  • Have a good understanding of the law of Evidence in a practical setting. To achieve this purpose students must attempt at least one problem question in the final examination.

Teaching Information

20 lectures and 7 seminars

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: students should do one, and may do two pieces of formative work

The first formative assessment for this unit is mandatory; the second formative assessment is optional.

Summative assessment: one three-hour closed book examination in May/June in which students answer 3 questions (at least one essay and at least one problem) from a choice of 8 questions.

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.

As the law in this area is often fast-changing, students are referred to the latest cases etc in learned periodicals such as the Criminal Law Review, The Modern Law Review and the International Journal of Evidence and Proof.