Law of Evidence

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
16 October 2023


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.

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 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

1. To understand the historical evolution of rules governing the admission of evidence and to critically evaluate the need for further changes to the law.
2. To assess the efficacy of the current rules for achieving justice and a fair trial.
3. To understand the contribution of case law to this area of law.
4. To understand the structure of the rules and procedures and to be able to apply them in practice.
5. 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. Confessions
Silence 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 via weekly lectures and fortnightly tutorials. The module teaching team will produce and make available on Moodle short guidance notes. The notes will also contain tips designed both to help you navigate the material to be covered in the lectures 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 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.


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   Autumn Essay (LW316 Evidence)    60% 
Practical   Multiple Choice Quizzes - Continuous Assessment (LW316 Evidence)    40% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

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
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
0% 100%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Oriola Sallavaci, email: o.sallavaci@essex.ac.uk.
Law Education Office, lawschoolug@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Steven Cammiss
University of Birmingham
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 71 hours, 40 (56.3%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
31 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Law School

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