LLB Law with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Criminal Evidence

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS30081
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Criminal Evidence explains the main rules of evidence which govern the conduct of criminal cases in England and Wales. We look at, for example, when judges should exclude evidence (e.g. confessions, sexual history evidence, character and hearsay evidence), and the procedures for examining witnesses (e.g. special measures, competence and compellability) and directing juries (e.g. the right to silence). Criminal evidence details the most important rules and draws attention to the inter-play between them. The course allows students to apply their knowledge of criminal evidence to real life scenarios and places the rules in the context of their rationale, their historical development, and modern criminal justice policy.

Criminal Evidence is in places highly technical and should only be taken by non-LLB students who feel competent engaging with case law and legislation.


NONE - it would benefit students if they have already taken criminal law, but this is not essential.


To provide students with knowledge of the main rules of criminal evidence which govern the conduct of a case in court;

To introduce key rules of evidence in the context of their rationale, their historical development, and modern criminal justice policy;

To promote critical awareness of the balance between the interests of the state and the individual;

To explore the connection between the rules of evidence and the nature of the common law adversarial trial.

Learning outcomes


Teaching and learning methods

There are 11 weeks of lectures (2 hrs a week, and 5 x 2 hour seminars and 1 super seminar.

A formative examination question will be set mid-way through the semester. This is a voluntary exercise, which does not count towards the final grade. This allows you to sit a practice exam question, which you will receive feedback on, enabling you to assess your progress during the semester.

Practical skills

A capacity to provide reasoned and critical analysis of evidential issues.

An ability to carry out independent library-based research.

An ability to present argument coherently and fluently.

An ability to structure argument and analysis.

An ability to work in groups.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

An ability to engage in structured oral discussion.

An ability to collect information from the sources available, including electronic resources.

An ability to manage one's own study-time and meet deadlines.

An ability to discern between the merits or otherwise of competing arguments.

An ability to present material orally in front of large group.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

The course is assessed by an unseen examination online over 7 days. You will be expected to answer one question from a choice of six and one compulsory problem question.

Feedback is provided in a number of ways. Students will receive written and oral feedback on formative assessments. Students should also consider responses to their submissions in seminars as feedback on their progress. Finally, post examination, an outlines of issues, giving guidance on appropriate content for examination and answers, will be provided.

There is a feedback hour each week, in which you can discuss any aspect of the module with the module coordinator.

Recommended reading


The current text is: Doak, McGourlay and Thomas 'Evidence in Context' 5 Ed. (2018) or another similar evidence text book published after 2018.

Please check the course outline before purchasing an evidence textbook for next year.


Criminal evidence is concerned with statutory provisions. This kind of material cannot be adequately studied without the opportunity to refer at all times to the statutory text. A collection of relevant statutes is therefore very useful, and updated editions are published by OUP/Blackstone's Press, Butterworths, Sweet and Maxwell, etc. You are also allowed to take this into the examination with you.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2.5
Lectures 22
Practical classes & workshops 1
Seminars 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 169.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Claire McGourlay Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Open book examination


Restricted to: FINAL YEAR STUDENTS ONLY on the BA (Law with Politics); LLB (Law with Politics); LLB (Law); and LLB (Law with Criminology); BA Criminology degrees.

Students not on these courses can contact the Course Director for approval. Social Sciences students also taking miscarriages of justice (LAWS31061) might find this course complimentary.

This course is available to incoming study abroad students.


Please see Law School timetable

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