Criminal Litigation Alternative Report Sample
Masters in Law, PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE RESEARCH REPORT
- Demonstration of knowledge and understanding of the relevant area
- Analysis of complex legal, factual, business and/or management issues, as appropriate
- Application of knowledge and understanding to the task
- Ability to select and use appropriate information in support of the argument
- Ability critically to evaluate information as appropriate
- Ability to reach a clear and reasoned solution to the problem(s) raised in the task, addressing any ethical and commercial issues, as appropriate
- Ability to communicate using a clear and logical structure and language appropriate to the task.
Criminal Litigation Alternative Question
“The rule against the admission of hearsay evidence is fundamental. It is not the best evidence and it is not delivered on oath. The truthfulness and accuracy of the person whose words are spoken to by another witness cannot be tested by cross-examination, and the light which his demeanour would throw on his testimony is lost. Nevertheless, the rule admits of certain carefully safeguarded and limited exceptions,…” per Lord Normand in R v Teper  A.C. 480
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 and resulting case law on the admissibility of hearsay evidence made some significant changes to the hearsay rule. To some it suggests that the risks associated with hearsay evidence have been ignored along with marginalising the defendant’s right to a fair trial.
You are required to present an advice to a group of Crown Prosecution Service trainee solicitors (known as Associate Prosecutors) on the impact of the 2003 Act on the admissibility of hearsay evidence and whether it has ignored the risks traditionally associated with hearsay evidence and marginalised the defendant’s right to a fair trial.
1. The historic basis and rationale for the law on hearsay, including the traditional risks associated with hearsay evidence and the rational for exercising caution.
2. The current law on the admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal trials including what the present safeguards are.
3. A review of the literature and the cases which have gone before the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights and the difference in approach taken by these courts in relation to the sole and decisive test and the resulting tension this has caused.
4. A consideration of the extent to which the risks associated with hearsay evidence along with the defendant’s right to a fair trial have been ignored by the 2003 Act and the courts.
5. Your advice to Associate Prosecutors on what approach they should adopt when using hearsay evidence, with particular reference to using absent witness statements at trial.
6. Your own proposals for reform of this area of law, including the rationale.