Common Law Exceptions To The Hearsay Rule

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Definition: Common Law Exceptions To The Hearsay Rule




Full Definition of Common Law Exceptions To The Hearsay Rule


Although the general principle is that Hearsay evidence is inadmissible to prove the facts it expresses, over the years the courts have developed a number of exceptions. Although the Cja (2003) make some radical changes to the law regarding hearsay, it expressly preserves (s.118) many of these common law exceptions, including the following:

  • A public document or record (see Admissibility of public documents and records)
  • A Res gestae utterance (which now has a statutory definition);
  • A Confession;
  • The body of expertise drawn upon by an expert witness
  • Hearsay evidence of a person’s reputation
  • A statement made by a party to a common criminal enterprise
  • Certain trivial matters such as evidence of name and address

Note that merely being listed in s.118 does not make the evidence admissible; it must still satisfy the common law rules on admissibility. However not being listed in s.118 is definitive that a particular piece of hearsay evidence is not admissible on common law principles. Some common-law exceptions have not preserved by s.118. One is the Dying Declaration. Such a declaration would now be prima facie admissible under s.116(2)(a), as an oral statement made by a person who is unable to give evidence in person on account of his being dead. However, at common law a statement made against a persons own (pecuniary) interest was admissible in certain circumstances; there appears to be no equivalent in the new Act.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Common Law Exceptions To The Hearsay Rule are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 5th April, 2020 | 14 Views.