Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Courses

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

Module Aims

To provide you with an understanding of some of the core evidential rules and principles, and the adversarial trial structure in which they operate. It affords practical and philosophical insights into the functioning of these rules, and the values and policies underpinning them.

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.

Syllabus

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).

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task10
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Wider reading or practice10
Tutorial8
Lecture22
Total study time110

Resources & Reading list

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

Roderick Munday (2013). Evidence. 

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

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

Ian Dennis (2013). The Law of Evidence. 

Andrew Choo (2012). Evidence. 

Assessment

Formative

Exam question

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

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:

Textbooks

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) and the core/recommended text as appropriate (approximately £35).

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 www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×