The Trial: Principles, Process and Evidence
OverviewBrett Whiteley (Australia; England, b.1939, d.1992)Hyena: no. 6 from the series My relationship between screen printing and Regents Park Zoo between June and August 1965 (detail)(1965)two-colour screenprint, printed on paper, 76.1 x 60 cmArt Gallery of New South WalesPurchased 1965Photo: AGNSW(c) Wendy Whiteley Written by leading evidence law scholars, combined with practitioner contribution, The Trial examines procedural and evidentiary law under the uniform Evidence Acts. This is a book for evidence law students, scholars and for practising lawyers. The Trial challenges mainstream approaches to teaching evidence law by: contextualising the trial within key pre-trial processes, including police questioning, disclosure obligations and pleadings; connecting law reform, lawyers' roles and their ethical obligations to promote justice in a broad rather than a narrow, anodyne or legalistic fashion; acknowledging 21st century lawyers' need for literacy across human rights fair trial norms and their common law equivalents; and its interdisciplinary emphasis. The Trial focuses its study on the important functions of adversarialism and the oral tradition, as well as the consequential price exacted through diminishing access to justice for the vulnerable, particularly those with mental illness or cognitive impairment, children and sexual assault complainant witnesses. Regarding Indigenous Australians, The Trial also shows how such challenges compound the pre-existing harshness of criminal justice processes. In Australia, no comprehensive evidence book presents doctrinal analysis so comprehensively within a humanising context. The Trial places the criminal jury trial centre-stage. This is where the law of evidence and procedure is commonly hotly contested, where major defining evidentiary case law arises and where the cut and thrust of advocacy, crucially shaping the trial, are classically on show. It is also where rapid change has an impact on expertise and, through law reform, creates pressures on fundamental accusatorial principles in an increasingly complex justice environment.