The Withering Away of Evidence Law: Notes on Theory and Practice

Robert P. Burns

Northwestern University - School of Law

November 21, 2012

Georgia Law Review, Forthcoming
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 12-30

The plausibility of evidentiary regimes depends on more basic understandings of the nature of the trial. "Tough-minded" evidence scholars may sometimes be reluctant to concede the significance of more "tender-minded" normative inquiries into the trial. Some implicit ideals of evidence law, such as factual accuracy, are relatively constant among theories of the trial, while others, such as materiality, are significantly affected by competing theories. This essay identifies our received view of the trial and suggests an alternative. It then offers a number of grounds for further relaxation of the exclusionary force of evidence law and for strengthening its parliamentary function of imposing order and discipline on the trial. Finally, it offers some concrete examples of what an evidence law which performs a parliamentary, but not an exclusionary, function would look like.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: evidence, trials, procedure, justice

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K40, K49

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Date posted: November 25, 2012 ; Last revised: November 26, 2012

Suggested Citation

Burns, Robert P., The Withering Away of Evidence Law: Notes on Theory and Practice (November 21, 2012). Georgia Law Review, Forthcoming; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 12-30. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2180314

Contact Information

Robert P. Burns (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-6613 (Phone)
312-503-8977 (Fax)
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