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on 27 May 2012


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

The key concepts of the modern law of evidence are set out clearly and concisely by Jonathan Doak and Claire McGourlay in their new third edition which has changed its title to `Evidence in Context'. They explain away the change by widening the scope of the work to take account of developments in civil law. We welcome the two new chapters on adversarial trial and suspect evidence and the example scenarios which do assist an understanding of what can be a complex subject to many learners.

The new edition is certainly both accessible and stimulating because the authors have concentrated on those topics which tend to feature most commonly on courses for the law of evidence.

Any lecturer or student of evidence knows that the subject does not readily lend itself to the integration of what is called the contextual perspective so what is refreshing about this work is the inclusion of wider policy debates and societal trends which undergraduate courses often contain.

For the practitioner, the gap between the practice of law and `the law of the books' is well highlighted although as Doak and McGourlay admit both threads do not always sit comfortably together in precise harmony.

A particular benefit of the book for the wider readership is the exploration of the practical significance of the rules of evidence which is what the trainee solicitor or barrister will be looking for. The authors have made reference to examples of the law in action from outside the law reports and they draw on press and media reports as well as socio-legal studies and this development is to be welcomed as there are so many pre-conceived notions of `evidence' by armchair experts who do not see the inside of a courtroom regularly.

To us, the modern law of evidence has always been a fast-moving field of substantive law with significant new case law appearing every year when Parliament, inevitably, legislates. Of particular note is the continuing effect of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which has not changed the essential character of the law itself which is delightfully described as `a disparate and unwieldy set of rules... not built around any single set of values or rationales'

But that is evidence for you!

Studying evidence remains difficult when trying to identify any sense of coherency within the subject but the authors have relieved many of these difficulties giving a balance between the need for a clear and accessible account of the subject with the necessary degree of analysis and context: the work remains essential reading for you when you prepare to be examined in evidence... as your best revision friend!
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on 4 April 2013
This text book is great for getting a basic understanding of the law of evidence - not so great for case analysis though so depending on how good you are at getting the points within caselaw (as you always read this yourself) you need a more analytical text such as Keane 'Modern law of Evidence' which was reccommended by my university. these two books together give you the best of both :)
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on 30 April 2013
Amazing textbook, easy to read, nice layout, good content - all the information you need to know for the law of evidence!
Would highly recommend! Absolutely brilliant textbook proving the necessary information in an accessible way for students
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on 29 November 2013
excellent book, well structured, well written and make you easily to understand the principles of evidence!!!!!! much criticism on it! very helpful
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on 21 January 2014
Very useful book, ideal for any student studying the Law of evidence, vast majority of the course was covered within this book
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on 25 November 2014
Evidence is an excellent it has everything you need in it to study evidence.
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