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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Law of Evidence
Module Code LG337
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Yvonne Daly
Semester 2: Yvonne Daly
Autumn: Yvonne Daly
Module TeachersYvonne Daly
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

The rules of evidence which apply in the Irish courts have evolved over generations, and continue to evolve. Both the courts, and increasingly the legislature, have played a role in determining these rules. This module aims to acquaint students with the rules of evidence, their origins and the context of their development, and to equip students with sufficient substantive knowledge and contextual information to allow them to critique the ongoing need for these rules, and the potential for the recognition of further rules of evidence.

Learning Outcomes

1. describe the function of the law of evidence in legal proceedings;
2. outline the basic principles of the law of evidence;
3. outline and appraise the rules of evidence and demonstrate knowledge of relevant case law and legislation;
4. solve hypothetical evidentiary problems with reference to case law and legislation;
5. critique the rules of evidence in terms of their development and ongoing significance.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assignment Completion24Preparation for Mock Voir Dire - Written
Assignment Completion8Preparation for Mock Voir Dire - Oral
Group work5Group Work for Mock Voir Dire
Independent Study40Reading for Lectures
Independent Study24Preparation for Final Assignment
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to Fact Finding and Principles of Proof – purpose, origins and development of rules of evidence; function of judge and jury; standard and burden of proof; witness system

Competence and Compellability – the accused; spouse of the accused; persons with disabilities; children and vulnerable witnesses – important changes over

Corroboration – Why is certain evidence seen as weak?; accomplice evidence; children s evidence; ID evidence; confession

Improperly Obtained Evidence – differences in approach in Ireland, England and Wales, and United States; unconstitutionally obtained evidence; illegally obtained

Opinion Evidence – expert evidence; DNA evidence

Rule Against Hearsay – basis of the rule; exceptions to the rule; new legislative exception – prior witness statements

Similar Fact Evidence – admissibility of evidence of past bad behaviour of accused

The Accused as a Witness and the Criminal Justice (Evidence) Act, 1924 – loss of the shield; difference of approach in Ireland and England and Wales

Privilege – sacerdotal; legal/professional; without prejudice communications; public privilege

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ProjectMock Voir Dire75%n/a
AssignmentA brief assignment on a topic other than that examined within the Voir Dire assessment25%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Fennell: 2009, The Law of Evidence in Ireland, 3rd, Bloomsbury Professional, Dublin,
  • McGrath: 2014, Evidence, 2nd, Thomson Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Heffernan and Ni Raifeartaigh: 2014, Evidence in Criminal Trials, Bloomsbury Professional,
  • Walsh, Dermot: 2016, Walsh on Criminal Procedure, 2nd, Thomson Round Hall,
  • McGrath: 2005, Evidence, Thomson Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Heffernan, Imwinkleried, McDermott: 2008, Evidentiary Foundations: Irish Edition, Tottel Publishing, Dublin,
  • Twining: 2006, Rethinking Evidence: Exploratory Essays, 2nd, Cambridge University Press,
  • Heffernan: 2006, Scientific Evidence: Fingerprints and DNA, Firstlaw, Dublin,
  • Heffernan: 2005, Evidence: Cases and Materials, Thomson Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Healy: 2004, Irish Laws of Evidence, Thomson, Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Cannon and Neligan: 2002, Evidence, Thomson Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Walsh: 2002, Criminal procedure, Thomson Round Hall, Dublin,
  • Easton: 1998, The Case for the Right to Silence, Amesbury Series in Philosophy,
  • Walsh: 1998, The Irish Police, Round Hall Sweet & Maxwell, Dublin,
  • Zuckerman: 1989, The Principles of Criminal Evidence, Clarendon Press, Oxford,
  • Law Reform Commission Consultation Papers and Reports,: 2005, e.g. Report on the Establishment of a DNA database,
Other Resources

38573, Moodle, 0, Lecture notes and links to relevant journal articles, case-law and websites will be available on the DCU Moodle page for this module, 38574, Journals, 0, Students should also regularly refer to relevant journals, such as the Irish Criminal Law Journal, the Judicial Studies Institute Journal, and the International Journal of Evidence and Proof, 38575, Electronic Sources, 0, Some useful electronic resources are: Justis, WestLaw IE, FirstLaw, LexisNexis, www.bailii.org, www.irishstatutebook.ie, www.lawreform.ie, www.courts.ie, www.echr.coe.int,
Programme or List of Programmes
BCLBachelor of Civil Law (Law & Society)
BCLNBCL (Clinical)
BCLYABCL (International)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
EPLBA in Economics, Politics and Law
EPLNBA in Economics, Politics and Law
EPLYABA in Economics, Politics and Law (Int)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
Date of Last Revision28-MAY-12

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