chapter  1
22 Pages

An Introduction to the Substantive Law of Evidence

On that basis it is important that you appreciate that the parties to any action, whether it be a civil action or a criminal one, are not given blanket permission to put all the evidence that may assist their case before the court. Here is an important point that you should note: the parties are only permitted to put before the court the evidence that is (a) relevant to a fact in issue in the case and (b) admissible; and even then the trial judge may decide to exclude it. This does sound like a pretty tall order; however, as you read through this textbook you will begin to understand the context in which the law developed and why, for instance, the judicial ability to exclude evidence and give directions to the jury in relation to other types of evidence is so fundamentally important. The topics that are covered in this textbook include:

burdens and standards of proof; competence and compellability of witnesses; the trial process (examination-in-chief, cross-examination and re-examination of

witnesses) privilege and public interest immunity; adverse inferences and silence; hearsay; confessions and illegally obtained evidence; identifi cation evidence; corroboration and care warnings; good and bad character evidence; doctrine of similar fact; opinion evidence; documentary and real evidence.