Bronwynne Anderson (Australia)
At its Highest
pencil drawing with digital colouring
© Bronwynne Anderson
The fourth edition of Uniform Evidence Law: Text and Essential Cases continues the traditions of earlier edition with a detailed, comprehensive and integrated discussion of all concepts and rules of evidence law. The latest judicial decisions and legislative amendments have been included, accompanied by insightful commentary and analysis to explain and evaluate these developments in the law. This includes the evolution in the judicial interpretation of the meaning of ‘significant probative value’ in cases involving tendency evidence, such as the High Court decisions in Hughes v R, Bauer v R, and McPhillamy v R. The most recent legislative changes to the admissibility thresholds for tendency and coincidence evidence have been incorporated with reflective commentary on the parliamentary intent and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Important developments in weighing factors under s 138 (Kadir v R; Grech v R) and determining the competence and proper questioning of child witnesses (A2 v R) have been thoughtfully examined.
The case extracts throughout this edition have been selected to provide a useful mix of seminal and enduring statements of evidentiary principles, together with more recent decisions highlighting current judicial interpretations of the most frequently considered provisions of the uniform Evidence Acts. The chapter order closely reflects the structure of the uniform Evidence Acts in all jurisdictions and the incremental topic sequencing of most university courses in evidence law.
Uniform Evidence Law provides an essential toolkit for both the student and practitioner of evidence law. It has been carefully designed to enhance understanding of the practical operation of evidence law in the various federal and state litigation contexts in which it arises.
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
1.Relevance and Fact-Finding
2. Some Basics about Trials and Appeals
3. Resolving Factual Uncertainty
4. Exclusion of Admissible Evidence and Limiting Directions
5. Witnesses and Privileges
6. The Course of the Trial
7. Documentary and Real Evidence
8. The Hearsay Rules
9. Opinion Evidence
11. Estoppels, and Convictions and Judgments as Evidence
12. The Credibility of a Witness
13. The Character of the Accused
14. Tendency and Coincidence Evidence
15. Identification Evidence
Appendix – Parts 1 and 2 of the Dictionary to the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) (Selected parts)
Reviews of previous editions:
This is an excellent textbook, which actually reads more like a novel than a text book!
The laws of evidence are perhaps some of the most complex laws that practitioners will face and this book provides the basics and up to date cases on the main areas of evidence law. … this book deals with the most important sections of the Evidence Act. The format is easy to follow with a clear analysis of the basic laws … this is a very useful book for practitioners. Read review…
Caroline Dobraszcyk, Bar News, NSW Bar Association, Summer 2016
Since the publication of the last edition of this book, Victoria, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have enacted legislation to give effect to the uniform evidence law scheme. Further, the uniform evidence laws have been responsible for spawning a plethora of case law. Hence, this third edition is both warranted and timely. … the author helpfully extracts in full the relevant statutory provisions, supplies commentary on the manner in which the provision is said to operate, refers to relevant authority and, where necessary, provides an extract from the judgment. This structure is of obvious benefit to a student. The advantage to a busy practitioner is that it provides a ready reckoner of principles and a reference to the latest authorities thus potentially reducing the time that would otherwise be taken with researching primary sources. Read full review…
Anthony Lo Surdo, Australian Banking and Finance Law Bulletin, May 2016
Evatt J said in R v War Pensions Entitlement Tribunal; Exparte Bott (1933) 50 CLR 228 at 256 that “the rules of evidence … represent the attempt made, through many generations, to evolve a method of inquiry best calculated to prevent error and elicit truth”. The rules of evidence ensure that the information put before a Court are logically probative of an issue and are not attended by undesirable features such as unreliability and unfairness. Of course, legislative changes are sometimes required. That said, when there are wholesale changes as occurred in relation to the various Uniform Evidence Acts, a whole new period of adjustment will be required. This text is concerned with the Uniform Evidence Acts and is directed toward teaching tertiary students. As a consequence there is basic, but important information to explain the relationship between the rules of evidence and the conduct of a trial, burden of proof, hearsay, opinion and the various exclusionary rules. It is nevertheless comprehensive and is a handy resource for practitioners. It is well referenced with up-to-date authorities and its text is well presented and easy to access. Most importantly, it offers practical answers to some of the more difficult questions which arise in relation to evidence. It is a very useful reference tool. The paperback form makes it easy to carry as compared to the other more bulky loose leaf services.
Queensland Law Reporter – 13 May 2016 –  18 QLR
Uniform Evidence Law is an essential tool and will enhance the understanding of the practical operation of evidence law in the various litigation contexts in which it arises.
Law Society of South Australia
With their concise and tight style of analysis on all aspects of the trial process, the learned authors have been able to seamlessly remind the reader at every turn of the page of both the scope and applicability of the Uniform Evidence Acts. As they note, “Evidence issues arise in all trials.” (Appeals in Criminal Cases, p40.)
In these days of increasing legal homogeneity anyone with a criminal or civil-based litigious practice should ensure that this easy-to-use, breeze to carry, soft-covered text is in the robe-bag.
Law Society of Western Australia, October 2009
Sometimes, and this is one of them, it is excruciatingly difficult to commence a book review, not because of the lack of quality of the publication, but because it is so good you fear that you will not do it justice.
We are all coming to grips with some changed concepts in applying the law of evidence. For those of us who studied the subject many years ago and have practised its use on a daily basis, we perhaps feel like the cricketer who is told that the pitches will from now on be metric. They are almost what you are used to, but in subtle ways they are different.
This is the second book that I have reviewed dealing with the uniform evidence law but this one deals with the nuts and bolts of it, rather than trying to compare differences between the old and the new or between States. The name does not say it all. It is much more than text accompanied by essential cases. The author has on a number of occasions, considered and dissected decisions, including relatively recent High Court decisions and, by analysis, suggested that in some cases their rationale is perhaps flawed or that subsequent decisions might see the interpretation of the Act, applied differently in the future.
This is not an annotation of the Act, but more an in depth analysis of issues such as credibility, hearsay, prior inconsistent statements, prior consistent statements, admissions and denials, identification evidence, witnesses and privileges and the course of trial. On occasions the author considers sections of the Act in a group, particularly when looking at issues such as hearsay statements which may be admissible under one of several sections of the Act. Similarly, he has discussed a number of decisions, which have included, where appropriate, the summing up of the trial judge, so that practitioners may more readily understand in simple terms, how judges have explained the application of the various provisions of the Act, to the particular factual circumstances. This is a first rate book.
I can only echo the sentiments of Justice Carolyn Simpson who said in the foreword, “I commend Peter Bayne for this worthwhile attempt to refine the principles under which we now must act, and look forward personally to benefiting, in a practical way, from his efforts in this regard.”
Tasmanian Law Society Newsletter, February 2004
This is a good book. … It is always a pleasure to read texts such as Peter Bayne’s where one can understand the point in a paragraph without multiple re-readings.
Quite clearly, if you reside in uniform evidence law jurisdictions, this text is an excellent one … this text is also of vital importance for those who serve in the Australian Defence Force, who have to deal with the matters that arise out of the Defence Force Discipline Act. … I would highly recommend this text …
Ethos (Law Society of the ACT), March 2004