UTS Subject Review: 70717 Evidence and Criminal Procedure

I did Evidence and Criminal Procedure (70717) this Autumn 2009 semester together with Family Law and Corporate Law.

Learning Structure: 3/5

1.5 hour lectures and 1.5 hour tutorials per week.

The lectures are very good – there are lecture slides and each topic is sufficiently covered in each 1.5 hour (not too long and not too short!). If you go, you don’t really need to do textbook readings. The lecture structure for the semester is also well organised so that it ends in Week 13 (leaving you 1 week for study) with a quick revision lecture.

I found the tutorials too long and somewhat useless, because they were always discussion questions. There were no problem questions! The first time we did problem questions were in the final exam… There’s no participation/attendance.

Staff: 3/5

The 1 lecturer (Katherine Biber) is really good. She knows the subject and knows which concepts students will have trouble with – so she slows down and deliberately explains these parts in a clear way. She uses PowerPoints and explains things in a very clear, structured way so it is quite easily to follow her.

My tutor was not particularly good – sometimes confusing or didn’t know the answer to questions. From what I’ve heard about Katherine’s tutorials, I recommend you try get into her tutorial. Particularly as the last tutorial is going through the past exam paper and she actually tells you the correct answer and how you would answer it.

Amount of Readings: 4/5

  • Set Textbook: Hunter, Cameron & Henning, LITIGATION II, EVIDENCE AND CRIMINAL PROCESS, Lexis Nexis, 7th ed

There’s prescribed readings for each week made up of parts of the textbook (above) and cases/articles. However, I found that if you went to the lectures – there wasn’t really a need to read the textbook, except for when you missed something or didn’t understand it from the lecture.

The main problem is that the set textbook is outdated! It’s published before the amendments to the Evidence Act (NSW) 1995 so it’s important to look up the legislation in Austlii to check. There was also problems with cases (eg. Adam v The Queen) in Credibility and Non-Hearsay that are discussed in the textbook, but are now wrong, because of the amendments. So to an extent, the textbook is annoying, because you have read it with a sense of “caution” and sometimes I found it difficult to determine if the information was still correct or not.

Assessments: 3/5

  • Analytical Case Note (50%): this was 2000 word assignment that was a combination of a case note and a research essay. There were 3 cases to choose from, which we then had to analyse in light of a particular journal article that criticises the decisions. The cases were quite long and the judgments were difficult. What is most difficult about this assignment, I found though was the word limit. 2000 words worth 50% was crazy, I thought. Sure, it’s a lot less work, but it means that every word had just great weighting on it!
  • Exam (50%): the format of this exam was really good. 10 questions (5 marks each) based on 1 straightforward factual situation. What was really helpful is that the questions break down what you need to talk about, instead of the really broad exam questions they usually ask like “Advise blah about blah liabilities etc….”

Cons of this Subject:

  • There’s no problem solving practice until you get to the final exam.
  • The set textbook is somewhat out of date.
  • The 50% assignment is limited to 2000 words.

5 comments for “UTS Subject Review: 70717 Evidence and Criminal Procedure

  1. Jia
    August 3, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I like your blog. I did Evidence last semester as well. What subjects are you doing this semester?

    • tutortales
      August 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm

      I’m only doing Resolving Disputes this semester.

      Evidence is hard…..hearsay is mind boggling. Good luck!


  2. Jia
    August 3, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    By the way I found your blog when I was searching for UTS law subjects on google. (I’ve put my proper email address down this time. I was worried that the spambots would get it and UTS email doesn’t have a spam blocker.)

  3. Fariba
    September 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

    hi Tutortales.
    im a current yr 12 student planning to do law nxt year. i wanted to find out how good uts was at law. i’ve been getting mixed messages from friends about uts and law. ddnt get a chance to go to uts open day so since as a uts law student ur self how well do u think it rates among the other unis in sydney.

    thanks :)

    • tutortales
      September 21, 2009 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Fariba,

      I’ve only done Law at UTS, so I’m not sure how I can compare with other universities. But here are some quick notes:
      – UTS has fewer law electives in the course eg. I am limited to choosing 3 electives, whereas other unis have about 6+ I’ve heard.
      – There are good/bad lecturers in all universities.
      – UTS generally uses lectures and tutorials, whereas UNSW, for instance, tends to do primarily tutorials/seminars. It depends how you learn best. Lectures can be very informative and minimise reading. Tutorials can push you to self-learn. I’ve had both bad lectures/tutorials, where I didn’t go to the classes, because they were essentially useless.
      – UTS focuses more on legal problem solving, whereas UNSW and USYD focus more on essays/research/academics. We had a UNSW lecturer teach for 1 semester (as a casual) and she told us this herself.
      – The UTS Law degree includes the Practical Legal Training in the last semester of your final year. Other unis (eg. UNSW) do not include this, which means you have to do it AFTER you graduate.
      – UTS subjects only take 1 semester. UNSW, for example, splits some subjects up over 2 semesters. So they have Contracts 1 and Contracts 2. This may mean that they cover the concepts in more detail.

      Hope that helps!


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