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Australian Evidence - A Principled Approach to the Common Law and Uniform Acts

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Australian Evidence - A Principled Approach to the Common Law and Uniform Acts

Andrew Ligertwood

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This comprehensive book provides a clear explanation of the operative rules of evidence in all Australian jurisdictions by reference to their underlying and unifying evidential principles, providing the necessary framework to understand and address evidential issues.

The common law evolved an adversarial process with the aim of rational and accurate proof of facts, reflecting a liberal notion of justice whereby parties initiate and pursue proceedings before independent judges and jurors. In criminal trials this process demands that the state establish its accusations beyond reasonable doubt without assistance from the accused. The authors explain how this process provides the fundamental rationale for evidential rules both at common law and under the uniform evidence legislation (UEL), and identify where evidential rules protect values extraneous to this process.

Significant developments covered in the sixth edition include:

Consideration by the HCA of common law doctrine: residual ‘fairness’ discretion questioned (Dupas v R (2013)); privilege against incrimination of spouses rejected (ACC v Stoddart (2011)); use of evidence obtained in compulsory examination of the accused rejected (X7 v ACC (2013); Lee v R (2014)); expression of statistical evidence not restricted (Aytugrul v R (2012))

Adoption of the UEL in the ACT and the NT

UEL and WA amendments privileging confidential professional communications and disclosure of journalists’ sources

HCA decisions on the interpretation of the UEL: ‘probative value’ does not concern credibility and reliability (IMM v R (2016)); no distinction between reliability of sworn and unsworn testimony (R v GW (2016)); no reliability standard for admission of ‘specialised knowledge’ opinions (Honeysett v R (2014); Dasreef v R (2013))

State legislation including the Jury Directions Act 2015 (Vic), and amendments to the Evidence Act 1929 (SA)

The new edition is an authoritative and principled source for those practising or studying Australian evidence law.


Explains evidence rules in the context of the adversarial process

Includes comparative position under Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) and common law evidence rules

Identifies underlying principles of evidence to enable navigation of complex rules

Related Titles

Field, Queensland Evidence Law, 4th edition, 2017

Field & Offer, Western Australian Evidence Law, 2015

Heydon, Cross on Evidence, 10th edition, 2015

Williams, Anderson, Marychurch & Roy, Uniform Evidence in Australia, 2015

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