Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Evidence is about the adversarial trial, which is non-Aboriginal Australia's most formal – its ultimate – dispute resolution mechanism. It provides a means of determining disputed facts in order to assign legal liability, which is then the basis for an exercise of State (societal) power. This unit looks at evidence law as a set of rules which determine the process of a trial. Key questions include 'how best do we arrive at truth?' and 'what is the relationship between truth and fairness?'. The study of the rules of evidence is an examination of both substance and procedure. At a trial, two conflicting stories are told and after hearing the stories, a fact-finder (jury, judge or magistrate) must say 'yes' or 'no' to the story told by the prosecution/plaintiff. It matters, in determining that 'yes' or 'no', what information the fact-finder is allowed to be shown, what use they are allowed to make of what they are shown, and even how sure they need to be in order to say 'yes'. It is the rules of evidence which determine these matters. Students learn the major rules of evidence governing a trial under the Uniform Evidence Law, which applies in the federal jurisdiction and in most Australian states and territories. They extend skills of case analysis, legal reasoning and statutory interpretation by considering hypothetical scenarios. Is certain evidence admissible? If so, how can it be used and by whom? Is there enough evidence? Can it be countered? Students engage in critical analysis by exploring the concept of a fair trial as it appears in specific principles and underpins the system of evidence law as a whole.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of (a) the Uniform Evidence Law; (b) the historical origins of particular rules of evidence; (c) the role played by the rules of evidence in proof in different forums; (d) the impact of the rules of evidence when preparing a matter for trial; and (e) the evidential requirements and analysis necessary for the purposes of proving a case; (2) demonstrate an appreciation for the potential impact of developments and reforms in evidence; (3) demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of (a) the ethical issues associated with the laws of evidence that constitute the trial; and (b) the fundamental role played by the laws of evidence in determining the proper administration of justice; (4) identify evidence needed to prove a client's case or disprove an opponent's case, according to the rules of evidence, and apply the rules of evidence to diverse factual scenarios; (5) engage in legal research at an advanced level using primary and secondary sources; (6) write a clear and concise answer to a hypothetical legal problem; and (7) demonstrate an appreciation of court etiquette and basic courtroom practice.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) mid-semester assessment; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Aidan Ricciardo
Unit rules
Successful completion of
LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering
and LAWS4102 Criminal Law
and LAWS4110 Legal Interpretation
Contact hours
4 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.