Book Reviews


The Law of Evidence

Author: Ian Dennis

Price: 33.95

Edition: 4th Edition (July 2010)

ISBN: 978-1-84703-856-2

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Evidence is, and always has been, a key aspect of the law which underpins both the criminal and civil legal systems.  To be successful with court proceedings, a party must prove facts beyond reasonable doubt (in a criminal trial) and on the balance of probability (for a civil trial).  On the way to trial, many evidential questions may arise: is the evidence admissible; or can evidence be obtained?  Fortunately, Ian Dennis' The Law of Evidence answers those questions in a clear and engaging way.

The Law of Evidence is split in to four parts and twenty chapters.  Each part considers a key cornerstone of this area of law.  For example, Part I deals with the foundations of the law of evidence whilst Part IV deals with how evidence can be used.  The text is also laid out in a logical manner, similar to the trial process, allowing the reader to understand how evidence is obtained and, ultimately, used.  This approach is excellent particularly for students or newly qualified practitioners who may have less experience of the adversarial process.

The Law of Evidence is, as always, extremely well-written and discusses the academic, theoretic and practical aspects of the law.  The Law of Evidence explains the historical development of the law and, importantly, the impact of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 on criminal trials and recent developments in evidence law.  Professor Dennis manages to combine these two strands in to a seamless account of the law.  The Law of Evidence is also extremely well-written, explaining the key principles in an engaging and accessible way.  It is also pleasing that the text considers lawyer-client privilege, which is a key area for any practitioner (particularly civil practitioners).

The Law of Evidence is a well-written account of the law of evidence.  The key principles are logically and thought-provokingly explained.  Professor Dennis also encourages the reader to undertake additional research by including detailed footnotes.  Its account of evidence law is comprehensive and The Law of Evidence deservedly retains its title as one of the leading, if not the leading, text in this area of law.  I have no hesitation in recommending this text to both students and practitioners.  For students wanting to become practitioners, the text will continue to be useful after the end of an undergraduate degree.

Reviewed on 12 June 2011

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