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The University of Southampton

LAWS2029 Foundations in Criminal Evidence Law

Module Overview

This module offers an introduction into some of the most fundamental rules and principles governing the admission, exclusion, and presentation of evidence in the criminal trial. It provides critical insights into the trial process, the purpose of key restrictions on admissibility, and protections afforded to defendants. The law of evidence developed throughout the centuries in the context of the jury trial but has recently undergone wide-ranging reforms, sometimes driven by controversial policy objectives. The module offers a critical perspective on the English law of evidence and will enable you to consider its underlying purposes and policy objectives, equipping you with the skills needed to apply the law to complex factual situations.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • some of the main rules of evidence and the way they are applied in a trial context;
  • the function of procedural and evidential rules and the process values and policies involved;
  • the key protections afforded to defendants in the criminal trial.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate rules of evidence and the policies and values involved;
  • evaluate the normative justifications for excluding particular types of evidence;
  • demonstrate critical awareness of the role of the courts in developing the law of evidence;
  • construct clear and coherent arguments as to how the law should apply and apply the law studied to complex factual situations;
  • undertake critical analysis of statutory provisions and judicial interpretations.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate and discuss complex ideas and arguments;
  • deploy analytical skills in relation to complex situations;
  • exercise time management skills and conduct research.


The following is an indicative list of subject areas which are to be covered during the module; however, there may be changes to this list both in terms of outline and content depending on case law developments and current affairs: 1. An introduction to the law of evidence. 2. Relevance and admissibility. 3. Burden and Standard of Proof. 4. The privilege against self-incrimination and the right to silence. 5. Illegal or unfairly obtained evidence. 6. Confessions. 7. Hearsay. 8. Evidence of the Defendant's Bad Character. 9. Sexual history evidence.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Lectures The lectures will provide you with an overview of each substantive topic, highlighting key issues. Reading lists provided in advance will outline critical issues, required reading, questions and guidance for further study. Tutorials Tutorials will provide you with an opportunity to address the specific issues relevant to the module in greater detail. Learning activities include: - Directed Reading (as per distributed reading lists). - Preparing and writing formative exam questions and self-reflection on that process. - Preparation and delivery of oral presentations. - Class discussion (including small group work).

Wider reading or practice10
Completion of assessment task50
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Colin Tapper (2010). Cross and Tapper on Evidence. 

Paul Roberts & Adrian Zuckerman (2010). Criminal Evidence. 

Roderick Munday (2013). Evidence. 

Ian Dennis (2013). The Law of Evidence. 

Adrian Keane and Paul McKeown (2014). The Modern Law of Evidence. 

Andrew Choo (2012). Evidence. 



Exam question


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.


Recommended texts for this module will be available in limited supply in the University Library and you may wish to purchase an evidence statute book (approximately 15 GBP) and the core/recommended text as appropriate (approximately 35 GBP).

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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