LAW4304 - Forensic evidence: Law, science, medicine and technology - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Quota applies

The number of places available in this unit is 60

Not offered in 2017


This unit examines the interaction between science, medicine, technology and the law. It focuses on the issues that arise when experts give forensic evidence in legal proceedings. Each week experts will present lectures about their areas of expertise. Topics include:

  • field investigations (e.g., crime scene investigation, fire and explosion investigation);
  • death investigations (e.g., forensic pathology, forensic odontology, forensic anthropology);
  • forensic medicine (e.g., investigation of adult and child sexual assault);
  • mental health evidence (e.g., forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology);
  • comparison evidence (e.g., fingerprints, ballistics, toolmarks, document examination);
  • biological and chemical evidence (e.g., DNA, drug analysis, chemical trace evidence);
  • technological evidence (e.g., digital evidence, AV evidence).


At the successful completion of this Unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and articulate the challenges presented and the tensions which arise when forensic evidence is tendered in legal proceedings;
  2. Critically assess forensic evidence in a range of fields, in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses;
  3. Recognise and reflect upon the ethical issues that may arise when forensic evidence is given in legal proceedings, and the professional responsibilities of lawyers in addressing these issues;
  4. Demonstrate research skills and the reasoning and professional judgment required to formulate appropriate responses to complex legal problems involving forensic evidence;
  5. Communicate effectively and persuasively on issues relating to forensic evidence;
  6. Learn and work autonomously and use feedback to improve their own performance.


Research paper (2500 words): 50%

Examination (2 hours plus 30 minutes reading and noting time): 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112 and LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104; LAW3301; LAW3302


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW3111 and LAW3112