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Chapter

Cover Evidence

6. Character and credibility  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses the following: issue and credit; the concept of ‘credibility’; and bringing out the character of the parties and their witnesses. Evidence introduced to illuminate someone’s character is a fairly common feature in both civil and criminal trials. Considerable restrictions apply in criminal cases since the Criminal Justice Act 2003. According to the context, however, it may fulfil different purposes. Notably, it may serve as a potential indicator of whether or not someone is likely to be a truthful witness.

Chapter

Cover Evidence

7. Evidence of the defendant’s good character in criminal cases  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter discusses the following: when the defence may adduce evidence of the defendant’s good character, what constitutes evidence of good character, the form that a judge’s good character direction must take, what consequences may flow from adducing such evidence, and how the Court of Appeal will react to a judge’s failure to deliver a suitable direction to the jury. The chapter concludes with brief consideration of when, if ever, evidence of prosecution witnesses’ good character is admissible.

Chapter

Cover The Modern Law of Evidence

4. Proof of facts without evidence  

Facts in issue and relevant facts are treated as established by the courts only insofar as they are proved by evidence. This chapter discusses three exceptions to this general rule: (i) some facts may be presumed in a party’s favour in the absence of proof or complete proof, including marriage, legitimacy, death, the regular and proper performance of public or official acts, sanity, and negligence; (ii) a fact will be treated as established where the court takes judicial notice of it either (a) without enquiry, in the case of facts that are beyond serious dispute, notorious or of common knowledge or (b) after enquiry (usually political facts, customs, professional practices, and historical and geographical facts); and (iii) a fact ceases to be in issue when a party has formally admitted it.

Chapter

Cover Cross & Tapper on Evidence

III. Burdens and proof  

This chapter considers the burdens borne by both parties when an issue of fact is at stake. It explains how the nature of a burden in the law of evidence is obscured by the use of the term in a number of different senses. The two principal senses are the burden of adducing evidence and the burden of proving facts. In relation to each, questions arise as to its incidence and discharge. The chapter considers the allocation of the burden in these two senses, at common law and under statutory provisions, and the effects of presumptions of law or agreement of the parties. Finally, this chapter is concerned with the extent of the two burdens, and the way in which the burden of proof has to be explained to the jury.