Law of Evidence

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
22 October 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

The aim of the module is to present a clear picture of the process and procedure involved in the presentation of evidence in criminal trials in England and Wales. In achieving this aim, the module examines the process of gathering evidence, the admissibility of such evidence and the ability to use such evidence in reaching decisions.
The module is a very practical one; examining why the law of evidence has evolved as it has. Questions include:

Can previous criminal convictions of either the defendant or a witness be presented to the court?

Can the spouse of a defendant be compelled to give evidence against his/her accused spouse?

What is the relevancy of purely circumstantial evidence?

How are vulnerable witnesses, such as rape complainants or child victims protected by the court system?

Can an illegally obtained confession be used in court?

Can an illegally obtained murder weapon be evidence in court?

The module builds upon knowledge already gained in a number of other substantive law modules, in particular criminal law. Many would be lawyers who will find the module very useful for practice.

Module aims

To provide students with the necessary knowledge and understanding of the law of evidence in criminal trials so as to enable them to meet the stated Learning Outcomes

Module learning outcomes

• To understand the historical evolution of rules governing the admission of evidence and to critically evaluate the need for further changes to the law
.• To assess the efficacy of the current rules for achieving justice and a fair trial.
• To understand the contribution of case law to this area of law.
• To understand the structure of the rules and procedures and to be able to apply them in practice.
• To develop a sense of critical assessment and evaluation of evidential facts and apply this to novel scenarios

Module information

Indicative Syllabus
:Relevance and Admissibility
Burden of proof
Witnesses: Competence and Compellability
Witness Evidence and Examination
Identification Evidence
Character Evidence of Witnesses
Evidence of a Complainant in a Sexual Offence Case
Bad Character of the Defendant
Hearsay inc. ConfessionsSilence before and after trial
The evidence module will be divided into a series of lectures and tutorials where students have the opportunity to check their understanding of the subject.

Learning and teaching methods

This module is taught through a mixture of weekly live webinars, pre-recorded videos, and tutorials. Each week, the module teaching team will first produce and make available on Moodle two 25-minute pre-recorded video lectures. The module teaching team will then deliver a weekly live 50-minute webinar in which they further explore key legal concepts and answer your questions about the topics. These lectures and webinars will subsequently be available online through Moodle so that you can re-watch them as part of your independent study. Alongside this, there will be five bi-weekly 50-minute small group tutorials.The module teaching team will also produce and make available on Moodle short guidance notes. These notes will introduce the material to be covered in thelectures, webinars and required readings. The notes will also contain tips designed both to help you navigate the material to be covered in the lectures and webinars and to equip you to analyse the required readings. You will be expected to have completed the required readings in advance of your tutorials. Your tutorials will enable you to discuss the material covered in lectures, webinars and the required readings, obtain feedback on your pre-class preparation and deepen your understanding of key concepts.To help you prepare in the best possible way for your tutorials, you will be completing regular small assessed activities to enable you to reflect upon and track your progress, understand what you are doing well, and give you clear feedback to help you manage your studies and your progress.


  • Keane, Adrian; McKeown, Paul. (2020) Modern Law of Evidence, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Grevling, Katharine. (2020-08-20) Blackstone's Statutes on Evidence, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Choo, Andrew L.-T. (2018) Evidence, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Summative Essay - Autumn    40% 
Coursework   Summative Essay - Spring    40% 
Practical   Multiple-Choice Quizzes    20% 

Additional coursework information

40% Summative Essay 40% Summative Essay 20% Multiple-Choice Quizzes

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Oriola Sallavaci, email: o.sallavaci@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Oriola Sallavaci, Angela Francis, Professor Karen Hulme
Law General Office, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 6774 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
6772 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
2 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Law School

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