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Criminal Trial: Part 1 - Trials, Evidence and Justice - LAW00047H

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  • Department: The York Law School
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Patrick Gallimore
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This module explores the nature of the criminal trial and the rules of criminal evidence from doctrinal and normative perspectives. Students will explore and evaluate how and why criminal trials work and the key rules of evidence used to determine a defendant's guilt. The module is stand-alone or preparatory for the Semester 2 Criminal Trial: Part 2 - Proof and Persuasion module.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

This module builds on understanding of the English Legal System and Criminal Law obtained in Foundations modules taken by Law students.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The module aims to explore the ways the criminal courts deal with the process of proving of criminal offences. By identifying key rules of criminal evidence students will have opportunities to explore key evidential concepts and processes such as relevance, proof, prejudice and weight and to examine them through application and critique of evidential rules and procedures in seminar discussions. The module is therefore intended to provide students with a conceptual understanding of the criminal trial and its controversies through theoretical and evaluative discussion. Students will develop their analytical and presentation skills as well as being expected to further develop their skills of research and argumentation.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Explain and evaluate the key concepts of criminal evidence and criminal proof and apply them to criminal scenarios of moderate complexity;
  • Evaluate the theory and application of rules and principles of specific areas of criminal evidence and apply them to criminal scenarios of moderate complexity;
  • Apply the rules of criminal trial procedure to scenarios of moderate complexity and evaluate the theories and values that underpin them;
  • Apply and demonstrate skills of independent research and reading to support legal analysis and critique.

Module content

The module will consist of workshops and seminars in which students will evaluate the theories and concepts relating to trial processes and rules of evidence in the criminal context.

Seminars involve the introduction and discussion of broad themes which will be explored in more detail in related workshops. Concepts explored include evidential rules relating to issues such as hearsay, character evidence, opinion, inferences from silence and identification evidence as well as core theories of criminal evidence such as relevance, proof, weight and prejudice. They also relate to aspects of the criminal trial such as the role of the jury, the function of appeals, legal representation, examination of witnesses and different types of trial systems.


Task Length % of module mark
Critical Evaluation of the Trial
N/A 60
Practical task : Grounds of Appeal
N/A 40

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

There will be an opportunity to submit a formative essay and formative analysis task that will reflect the content of the final assessments.


Task Length % of module mark
Critical Evaluation of the Trial
N/A 60
Practical task : Grounds of Appeal
N/A 40

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on outputs created during the modules (problem analysis, mini-essays). Students will continue to receive feedback during workshops and seminars on their discussions and contributions.

Indicative reading

  • Blackstone's Criminal Practice 2024(OUP, 2024)
  • Campbell, Ashworth & Redmayne, Criminal Process (5th edn, OUP, 2019)
  • Dennis, The Law of Evidence (7th edn, Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Roberts & Zuckerman, Criminal Evidence (3rd end, OUP, 2021)
  • Munday, Evidence (OUP, 2022)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.