Hearsay: The Exclusionary Rule
There were two main issues attached to the admission of hearsay evidence. The ﬁ rst related to the potential distortion or error in recounting a statement. The second was the inherent difﬁ culty in cross-examining a witness whose testimony relates to a hearsay statement because they did not ‘perceive’ the events about which they are giving evidence. However, the existence of either of these two issues did not preclude hearsay evidence from being admitted – with many judges taking the view that the focus should be on the
weight attached to this evidence rather than purely on its admission. Earlier in the book we discussed how such an inquiry is a factual one for the jury. In civil proceedings, the result of the Civil Evidence Act 1968 was to render most hearsay evidence admissible as evidence in civil cases – later the Civil Evidence Act 1995 completely abrogated the rule.