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date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a critique of the “common law model” of the Law of Evidence and calls for a new organizing principle that “reimagines” evidence law as forensic science, particularly in the context of criminal adjudication. It first provides an overview of the orthodox common law model of Evidence Law before deconstructing it, arguing that it adopts a very narrow doctrinal focus, thus undermining the dynamic processes through which evidence is collected, organized, presented, tested, and evaluated in legal proceedings. It also suggests that the model is difficult to defend in terms of robust disciplinary boundaries differentiating that which is specifically evidentiary from broader aspects of substantive and procedural law. Finally, it considers the so-called “New Evidence Scholarship” on evidence law, the impact of the new cosmopolitanism on common law evidence, and the rationale for reconceptualizing evidence law as part of an interdisciplinary “forensic science” that goes “beyond common law.”

Keywords: common law, Law of Evidence, substantive law, procedural law, New Evidence Scholarship, evidence law, cosmopolitanism, forensic science, criminal adjudication

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