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LAW5110 - Elements of forensic medicine 506

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Professor PL Waller


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


Topics include: medicine and science in the service of the law, including the organisation of the medical profession; biomedical forensic science; scientific evidence and its collection at the scene of a crime; forensic chemistry; forensic photography; firearm examination and tool marks; fingerprint evidence; forensic pathology; forensic odontology and the identification of victims; traffic medicine; the examination of victims of assault; DNA evidence in the courts; prototypes of police investigation; the State Coroner's system; forensic psychiatry and psychology and issues of criminal responsibility; medico-legal reports in the courts.


Students completing this unit should have a comprehensive understanding, as law students, of forensic medicine, encompassing forensic pathology, clinical forensic medicine, forensic odontology, forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology and forensic science. Students will be familiar with the organisation and operation of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, the Victorian Forensic Science Centre and the Coroner's Court. They will be aware of the challenges presented and the tensions which arise when expert evidence is tendered in the adversarial system of justice employed in Victoria and in Australia as a whole. Students will be able to carry out effective research accessing materials in data bases in the biomedical and scientific fields as well as in law.


Class tests: 2 x 10%
Research paper (2500-3500 words): 30%
Examination (2 hours writing time plus 30 minutes for reading and noting time): 50%

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104; LAW3300 or LAW3301 and LAW3302