How do courts identify when to admit evidence in court?

in Evidence

In Australia, the Uniform Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) has a checklist system which establishes the process by which evidence is identified as either admissible inadmissible.  The first step is to ask is evidence relevant, the second step is does the hearsay rule apply?  The next step is does the opinion rule apply? The next step is does evidence contravene the rule about evidence of judgements and convictions? The next step is does the tenancy rule of a coincidence rule apply?  Step number six is does the credibility rule apply?  Step number seven is does the evidence contravene the rules about identification evidence? Step number eight identifies whether or not privilege applies to the evidence.  The final step is for the court to exercise its discretion to exclude the evidence. If the answer to step one is no audience to any of the other steps is yes then the evidence is not admissible and will not become part of a fact-finding mission given to the jury or the judges arbitrator of fact.

The adversarial presentation of evidence is significant influence on how information is received in court. Facts are not presented by simple narration of the story from beginning to end, but through questions which elicit answers from witnesses called first by the party in the burden of proof and then by the other party or witnesses. Therefore, the plaintiff or the prosecution precedes first. It opens its case with summary of what it has to proven how it will prove it.  Some jurisdictions of the defence may be permitted to open a case at this stage also, the plaintiff then calls each of its witnesses to respond to questions from counsel for the plaintiff prosecution. These questions should elicit testimony which is relevant to the case at hand and which meet the strictures of the rules of evidence. Typically each witness will be able to testify to only a portion of the parties case.

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David Coleman has 1 articles online

David Coleman is a lawyer in Sydney Australia with over 10 years experience in the legal industry. If you need legal advice or a access to a legal document click on the links contained here.

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How do courts identify when to admit evidence in court?

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This article was published on 2011/01/05