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LAW5708 Advanced Evidence

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business
School or Department : School of Law

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andrew Hemming
Moderator: Craig Burgess


Pre-requisite: LAW5502 and LAW5605

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.


Evidence law concerns the rules and principles that govern what information can be used in court proceedings, who can use it and how it can be used. These rules pervade the operation of all areas of law in which an issue may come before a court for determination. Therefore, understanding the rules of evidence is critical for all lawyers practising in a field in which disputes of fact may arise. This is effectively any area of law. Criminal cases are the most heavily governed by laws of evidence, but these rules are also important for civil law, including contractual disputes, claims for damages for negligence and defamation. Although evidence law is largely procedural, its application can have a profound effect on the outcome of a case. In particular, rules governing admissibility determine the evidence juries are allowed to hear and judges are permitted to take into account when reaching a verdict or deciding a fact in issue. This course examines those rules, including the rationales for their existence. Like laws in general, evidence law is a balance of competing considerations. These rules attempt to reconcile the courts inquiry for the truth on disputed issues with considerations of expediency, reliability, fairness and other public policy considerations. Social and ethical questions arise throughout the course. Students will learn about the trial process as well as how witnesses are allowed to deliver testimony, rules of admissibility, including exclusionary rules and judicial discretions. The various forms of privilege from giving evidence will be considered, especially legal professional privilege, knowledge of which is essential for any students intending to practise in the legal profession. The course will focus on the rules of evidence applicable in Queensland under the common law and Evidence Act 1977 (Qld). The comparable federal regime covered by the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) will also be noted. The information studied in this course is practical and aims to give students practical knowledge and skills to assist them in becoming competent practitioners.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the trial process, the requirements of proof, including onus and burden of proof
  2. explain the rules in relation to witness evidence, particularly competency, compellability and other restrictions on testimonial evidence
  3. identify evidential issues in relation to admission or exclusion of evidence
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the forms of evidence including testimony, documentary and real evidence
  5. explain and analyse questions in relation to privilege, especially legal professional privilege
  6. appreciate the social and ethical issues in relation to evidence law, explain the rationale for these laws and analyse the applicable policy considerations for these principles
  7. locate and analyse primary law materials and secondary materials (as relevant) while critically reviewing issues in law relevant to the topics considered in this course
  8. explain the legal principles relevant to the topics considered in this course
  9. demonstrate an understanding of, and ability to explain and apply, the legal principles learnt in this course to given fact situations in order to determine the likely outcome of issues raised
  10. demonstrate satisfactory communication skills.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to the law of evidence, including trial process 5.00
2. Relevance, admissibility and weight 10.00
3. Witnesses ? competence, compellability and testimony 15.00
4. The rule against hearsay and res gestae 10.00
5. Opinion evidence 10.00
6. Admissions ? formal, informal and vicarious 5.00
7. Confessions and corroboration 10.00
8. Circumstantial and character evidence 10.00
9. Documentary and real evidence 5.00
10. Privilege and evidence of the accused 15.00
11. Social issues/ethical issues in evidence 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Forbes, JRS 2010, Evidence law in Queensland, 8th edn, Lawbook Co, Pyrmont, New South Wales.
  • Evidence Act 1977 (Qld).
  • Evidence Act 1996 (Cth).
  • LAW5708 course content CD available for purchase from the USQ Bookshop. Note that course content is also available on-line via the USQ Study Desk.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Arenson, KJ & Bagaric, M 2007, Rules of evidence in Australia: texts and cases, 2nd edn, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, New South Wales.
  • Heydon, JD 2010, Cross on evidence, 8th edn, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, New South Wales.
    (available online in LexisNexis AU database accessible from the Library Website.)
  • Waight, PK & Williams, CR 2006, Evidence: commentary and materials, 7th edn, Lawbook Co, Pyrmont, New South Wales.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 50.00
Lectures and Tutorials 39.00
Private Study 36.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives assessed Graduate skill Level assessed Notes
ASSIGNMENT 30 30 02 May 2011 All U1,U2,U3,U4,U8 2,2,2,2,2
2-HOUR EXAMINATION 70 70 End S1 All U1,U2,U3,U4,U8 2,2,2,2,2 (see note 1)

  1. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Graduate qualities and skills

Elements of the following USQ Graduate Skills are associated with the sucessful completion of this course.
Ethical research and enquiry (U1)Intermediate (Level 2)
Problem solving (U2)Intermediate (Level 2)
Academic, professional and digital literacy (U3)Intermediate (Level 2)
Written and oral communication (U4)Intermediate (Level 2)
Management, planning and organisational skills (U8)Intermediate (Level 2)

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This will be an open examination. Candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students studying this course as part of the Juris Doctor must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. Students who are not enrolled in the Juris Doctor may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the AGLC style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library?s referencing guide at <//> or contact the Law Librarian. The AGPS style to be used is defined by the USQ Library?s referencing guide at <//>.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.