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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Evidence (Ordinary) (LAWS08141)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course looks at the concept of evidence in the law, both in relation to the operation of the rules of practical inference in legal contexts and also at legal rules which structure the law's approach to evidence. These rules include those dealing with burdens and standards of proof, collateral evidence, hearsay, evidential privilege, corroboration, and evidence in the setting of a trial.
Course description The course will assess students' understanding of the structure and principles of the law of evidence and their knowledge of the basic rules. The examination will consist of a multiple choice element, which will assess students' ability to apply legal rules to ascertain the admissibility of evidence in a given scenario, and an essay-based element which will assess students' ability to analyse critically the rules of evidence, and to reflect upon the normative bases of evidential rules.

Students will be expected to read the relevant case law, statutes and secondary materials after class. They will also need to prepare for tutorials. This course covers some sensitive material, which may impact on some students as a trigger in terms of previous experience. To mitigate this, we make announcements both at the start of the semester, and before particular lectures, cautioning students about the nature of the material addressed.

The indicative teaching programme for the course is as follows:

- Introduction to Evidence
- Judicial Knowledge and Judicial Admissions
- Burdens & Standards of Proof
- Presumptions
- Collateral Evidence
- Hearsay
- Irregularly Obtained Evidence
- Expert (Opinion) Evidence
- Confessions and Statements against Interest
- Sufficiency & Corroboration
- Privilege & Immunity
- Competence & Compellability of Witnesses
- Course of a Trial or Proof

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  293
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 71 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Examination
Feedback Students will be able to complete a 1000 word written exercise, submitted to tutors in week 9 and returned in week 11.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a clear understanding of the nature and principles of the rules of evidence in the criminal and civil contexts. Students should have a deep knowledge of the basic rules of evidence. These principles and concepts include: relevance, weight and admissibility of evidence, judicial knowledge, hearsay, corroboration, competence of witnesses, and the interaction with and relevance of human rights.
  2. Have developed the ability to analyse critically the laws of evidence, to reflect upon the normative bases of evidential rules, to research independently on issues of evidence, to apply evidential rules to ascertain the admissibility of evidence in a given scenario.
  3. Demonstrate a basic ability to think creatively by applying knowledge to problems and to provide accurate answers in written and oral form, to present argument for or against a proposition in a dispassionate manner, to apply knowledge and analysis creatively to complex situations in order to provide arguable solutions to concrete problems by presenting a range of viable options from a set of facts and law, and to think critically and make critical judgements on the relative and absolute merits of particular arguments and solutions.
  4. Reflect on their own learning, make use of and act on feedback, and act independently in planning and undertaking tasks.
  5. Developed a basic understanding of the rationales for various rules of evidence, why the rules differ between criminal trials and civil proceedings, and the relevance of human rights in shaping the rules of evidence law.
Reading List
The core materials are

F Raitt, Evidence: Principles, Policy and Practice, 2nd edn (2013).

J Chalmers, Evidence Essentials, 3rd edn (2012).

M Ross and J Chalmers, Walker and Walker: The Law of Evidence in Scotland, 4th edn (2015).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills A) Skills and abilities in Research and Enquiry
To demonstrate a sound ability to:
- Differentiate between and use appropriately primary and secondary sources of law, and identify, retrieve and use relevant and appropriately up-to-date legal information using paper and electronic sources by using sources that are up-to-date from relevant paper and electronic repositories; using sources that are appropriate to the context; using recognised methods of citation and reference; using sources that are current at the point of assessment; using sources to support arguments and conclusions.
- Apply knowledge and understanding of law to a situation of limited complexity in order to provide argued conclusions to concrete legal problems (actual or hypothetical).
- Analyse, evaluate, and interpret primary and secondary legal sources relevant to the topic studied.
- View critically existing legal rules.
- Recognise and rank arguments and evidence in terms of relevance and importance by: managing a volume of legal sources and to select key materials to construct answers to problems; identifying the legal problem from the information provided; addressing problems by reference to relevant material; bringing together and integrating information and material from a variety of different primary and secondary sources; applying knowledge and analysis of the law creatively to solve legal problems by presenting a range of viable options from a set of facts and law; and presenting, and evaluating, arguments for and against propositions.
- Make a critical judgement of the relative and absolute merits of particular arguments and solutions.
- Apply knowledge and analysis in a legal context.

B) Skills and abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
To demonstrate a sound ability to:
- Reflect on his or her own learning, and to seek and make use of feedback
- Think critically about law and its place in society.

C) Skills and abilities in Communication
To demonstrate a sound ability to:
- Understand and use the English language proficiently in relation to legal matters, systematically structure academic writing, express views and ideas succinctly, pursue an argument with proper care and attention to academic literature and with proper recognition of counter-arguments
- Read and discuss legal materials which are written in technical and complex language.
- Produce a word-processed essay or other text and to present such work in an appropriate form.
- Use the internet and e-mail, including specifically the ability to exchange documents electronically; and to conduct efficient searches of websites to locate relevant information.

D) Skills and abilities in Personal Effectiveness
To show a sound ability to demonstrate an ability to organise and prioritise time and effort effectively in the performance of the student┐s work.

E) Technical/practical skills
To show a sound ability to:
- Produce a word-processed essay or other text and to present such work in an appropriate form.
- Use the internet and email
- Use electronic information retrieval systems, especially legal databases.
- Use a library for the recovery of information, and related research skills, including the ability to discriminate between and evaluate different sources of information.
Course organiserProf Gerry Maher
Course secretaryMs Angela Jones
Tel: (0131 6)51 4550
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