If you have already found the time to crack open (or download) the new Evidence Act 2008 you may have come to the conclusion that you’d need to be Einstein to figure out all of its contradictory and laborious provisions.
You might be right.
Justice Clifford Einstein has been a QC since 1987 and was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of NSW in 1997. His Honour has, for obvious reasons, followed the development of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) with keen interest and presented various speeches and presentations in the course of its evolution. A useful summary of some key observations can be found in an address on Civil Issues in Evidence which he gave to a NSW Judicial Commission seminar back in 2000.
It caught my eye because of its title – Understanding the Evidence Act 1995 – A Daunting Task!
Care needs to be taken when analysing some of the detail provided (and it is, of course, concentrating on civil law). But there’s a lot of good contrasts provided between the existing common law positions and the new quasi-codified statutory approach, useful for helping to get your head around the changes conceptually.