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LAW7308 - Expert evidence

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Adjunct Professor Ian Freckelton


City Term 2 2007 (Evening)


This unit addresses the role of expert witnesses, their
reports and their testimony in criminal, civil and family law litigation. The focus of the unit is on the accountability of expert opinions and the effectiveness of the examination. It will scrutinise the common law and legislative exclusionary rules of expert evidence and the rules of procedure that relate to the admissibility of expert evidence. It will address issues of 'property in witnesses', bias, court rules, confidentiality, privilege, ethics, payment and selection of forensic experts. In addition, the unit will explore the role and impact of expert evidence in a range of different forms of litigation.


Understanding of the role of expert evidence in litigation; Appreciation of exclusionary rules of expert evidence and relevant court rules; Capacity to contextualise Australian law within international developments; Awareness of contemporary issues relating to the use of expert witnesses in the criminal, personal injury, commercial and family law areas of litigation; Understanding of the dilemmas posed by expert evidence within the evolving litigation framework; Appreciation of the dynamics within which opinions are evaluated by courts and tribunals; Understanding of issues of confidentiality, partisanship, property in experts, codes of ethics in relation to expert witnesses; Understanding of particular issues in relation to medical, mental health, accounting, valuation and scientific evidence.


Take home exam (3,000 words): 40%. Research assignment (4,500 words): 60%