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LAW7110 - Elements of forensic medicine 700

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Professor PL Waller


City First semester 2007 (Day)


Medicine and science in the service of 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 subject 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.


Two class tests (20 minutes): 10% each
Written research paper (2500-3500 words): 30%
Final examination (2 hours plus 30 minutes for reading and noting): 50%

Contact hours

One 3-hour session per week