Fact-finding, Proof and Indigenous Knowledge: Teaching Evidence in Australia

Legal Service Bulletin Co-op
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Alternative Law Journal, 2010, 35 (4), pp. 208 - 212
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The rules of evidence enable law to discover its truths. The rules enable material facts to be 'found' in a haystack of data, and they erect thresholds along a single pathway to admissibility. Each piece of evidence follows the same passage, is tested against the same thresholds, and if it survives it is ruled admissible, and can be used in adversarial litigation in the proof of claims or charges. In teaching the rules of evidence to law students, we are teaching them law's methodology for proving facts that are in dispute. Through the rules of evidence, we teach students to classify, abstract and reason like lawyers. This article questions whether Indigenous perspectives might offer an opportunity to think afresh about how we teach and use laws of evidence.
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