Evidence (6th edition)
Andrew L-T Choo
Litigation is complicated by a need to consider the law of evidence alongside the relevant substantive law and procedure. This book provides a succinct but thorough introduction to this complication. Its key selling point is that it manages to do so in a little over 400 pages.
This is an academic textbook in the sense that it encourages critical thinking and draws upon comparative, socio-legal and non-legal perspectives (such as psychology), but it is also a practical guide that summarises effectively the key statutes and cases in this intricate area of law.
Some textbooks present a theoretical perspective removed from practical application, but textbooks on evidence cannot be separated easily from the courtroom context. This gives them an obvious value to both students and practitioners alike – and this is the case here.
This academic/practice crossover can also be found in the author, Andrew L-T Choo, who combines a full-time academic career (City Law School) with part-time practice at the bar (Matrix Chambers).
This is the sixth edition of his work and its structure is well established. Its size means that it can barely dwell upon the past and much of the material covered is current law. The writing is concise and business-like.
The book begins with an analysis of the role of evidence and the course of a trial. It then breaks down into a series of chapters effectively covering the expected areas, such as confessions, right to silence, hearsay, character and identification evidence.
As criminal law has retained the more rigid and detailed laws of evidence, the book necessarily devotes a large proportion of its content to this jurisdiction and it is here that it provides the greatest assistance to readers.
There are many books available on this topic. This one is not designed to be as comprehensive as the more expensive Phipson on Evidence (Sweet & Maxwell) or as detailed as the well-known Cross & Tapper on Evidence (OUP). However, for its size, Choo’s Evidence works well as an effective handbook on this complicated area of law and is recommended.
Nick Clapham is a senior teaching fellow at the University of Surrey and a non-practising solicitor