Faculty of Law

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) Trimester 1 2013 (Day)



Students will learn advanced evidence skills in the trial context, in particular, practical skills of factual analysis, reasoning, methods of analysing and marshalling evidence and problem-solving, and constructing, criticising & evaluating complex arguments.

The syllabus of the course will cover:

  1. Advanced research, analysis and practical application in the trial context of a selection of some of the more complex and contested rules of evidence, such as opinion evidence, hearsay, tendency & coincidence evidence, circumstantial evidence, the rule in Browne v Dunn, the rule in Jones v Dunkel, and the principles of judicial notice.
  2. Where skills of analysis for proof & argument are required in litigation including gathering evidence, advising clients, drafting court documents, pre-trial applications, briefs on evidence and trial preparation.
  3. Methods, formats and uses for chronologies, such as how chronologies can assist to identify gaps or inconsistencies in evidence.
  4. Investigation including imaginative investigative thinking to confirm or eliminate possibilities, and methods of marshalling evidence to develop a case theory such as marshalling according to scenario or source of evidence.
  5. How to argue from and about evidence, including developing arguments about documentary evidence, the reliability of witnesses, charting witness credibility, relevance, inferences, missing evidence and probative value.
  6. Developing a case theory, matching evidence to the theory.
  7. Mapping arguments to support case theory and evidence, such as by prose, chart and outline format.
  8. Students will examine case studies in class, drawn from many areas of law that may include criminal law, family law, contract, tort, equity and administrative law, the purpose being to emphasise the transferable nature of the skills of factual analysis and argument taught in the unit across all areas of law.

The unit has some, but not significant overlap, with units on Evidence and on Advocacy. It has some overlap with Evidence in that students develop knowledge and skills to analyse the rules of evidence, but at a more detailed and advanced level, with a focus on practical problem-solving in the trial context. It has some overlap with Advocacy, in that students will learn case analysis, and how to develop a case theory with a view to preparation of argument, but not specifically learn courtroom advocacy or trial process.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Develop advanced methodologies for investigation and case analysis, trial preparation, proof and argument at trial.
  2. Identify, understand and explain methods of factual proof according to some of the more complex and contested issues of evidence law applicable in Victoria.
  3. Identify and evaluate practical difficulties in the gathering and presentation of evidence and evidentiary argument in Victorian courts.
  4. Critically assess how miscarriages of justice can be prevented by proper analysis and preparation.


Class Presentation (10%)
Online quizzes (20%)
Class test (30%)
Take-home examination (40%)

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 24 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering.


LAW7273 Principles of evidence or equivalent.