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Shortcuts to Proof: How to Avoid Leading Evidence (or Lead Less of It) by the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

January 18 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Seminar Overview

Join Professor Robert J. Currie, K.C. for a wide-ranging Continuing Professional Development Seminar Series comprised of five informative sessions that will refresh and deepen your understanding of the fundamental principles, pitfalls, and practical aspects of evidence law.

Members may register for all five seminars at a discounted rate. Alternatively, members may register for individual sessions by following the links in the descriptions below. The first four seminars will be delivered online only, while the final seminar will have an in-person attendance option. Members should be aware that they will have access to recordings of the lectures if they are unable to participate at the noted date(s)/time(s).

Register for all 5 Sessions

Session 1: Back to Basics: Purposes, Sources & Fundamental Concepts of Canadian Evidence Law – November 30, 2023
Session 2: Shortcuts to Proof: How to Avoid Leading Evidence (or Lead Less of It) – January 18, 2024
Session 3: Opinion Evidence: Admissibility, Pitfalls – February 20, 2024
Session 4: Famous and Frustrating: The Law of Hearsay – March 19, 2024
Session 5: Documents, Electronic Documents, and Affidavits – April 16, 2024

Session 1 : Back to Basics: Purposes, Sources & Fundamental Concepts of Canadian Evidence Law
Thursday November 30, 2023, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

In this foundational session, we will embark on a journey through the bedrock of Evidence Law, exploring essential sources and core concepts. After a review of relevance, materiality, and the distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence, we will delve into the Supreme Court’s “Principled Approach,” with attention to how evidence rules differ in civil and criminal cases. The burdens and standards of proof will also be examined, laying a strong groundwork for the subsequent sessions.

Register for Session 1

Session 2: Shortcuts to Proof: How to Avoid Leading Evidence (or Lead Less of It)
Thursday, January 18, 2024, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Session 2 will equip you with the tools to streamline and reduce the amount of evidence that you are required to lead in trials and hearings. We’ll dive into the world of presumptions and the strategic use of formal admissions, agreed statements of fact, and in-trial agreements. Furthermore, we’ll unravel the intricacies of judicial notice, enabling you to navigate this valuable shortcut to proof.

Register for Session 2

Session 3: Opinion Evidence: Admissibility, Pitfalls
Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Opinion evidence can be a tricky terrain to navigate, but in Session 3, we will demystify it for you. Starting with the common law bar on witnesses giving opinions, we will examine the expert opinion exception. You’ll gain insights into the qualification of experts, the White Burgess test for admissibility, and how the law deals with expert bias. We’ll also shed light on the lay opinion exception, looking at traditional categories and the “principled” lay opinion exception, as well as the troublesome line between lay and expert opinion.

Register for Session 3

Session 4: Famous and Frustrating: The Law of Hearsay
Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Session 4 is dedicated to unraveling the complexities of hearsay evidence and the rules that govern its admissibility. We’ll begin by defining and identifying hearsay, followed by an examination of the Supreme Court’s “principled approach” to hearsay, emphasizing the crucial factors of necessity and reliability. As we explore hearsay exceptions (including the “principled exception”), you’ll gain a firm grasp of how this intricate web of rules operates. We’ll also compare and contrast the treatment of hearsay evidence in criminal and civil contexts.

Register for Session 4

Session 5: Documents, Electronic Documents, and Affidavits
Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

In the final session, we’ll tackle the multifaceted world of documents, electronic records, and affidavits. We will carefully unpack the distinctions between authentication, the “original document” rule and admissibility. Our exploration will extend to the challenges of authenticating electronic documents and data, such as social media content, under the Canada Evidence Act and the NL Evidence Act. We’ll also delve into the practical but nuanced art of affidavit-writing, highlighting examples of both effective and flawed affidavits, highlighting best practices and pitfalls to avoid.

Register for Session 5

Seminar Presenter

Robert J. Currie, K.C.

Robert J. Currie, K.C. is Distinguished Research Professor at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, where his teaching areas include: evidence; Canadian, international & cross-border criminal law; civil procedure; international law; and advocacy. He is a member in good standing of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society and has appeared as counsel at all levels of court in Nova Scotia, as well as the Federal Court. An award-winning teacher, Professor Currie is a frequent contributor to CPD and judicial education seminars, and his scholarly work has been cited at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. His most recent book is the edited collection Transnational and Cross-Border Criminal Law: Canadian Perspectives (Irwin, 2023).

Registration Fee

Option 1: $172.50 ($150.00 + HST) per seminar

Option 2: $560.00 ($500.00 + HST) for all five seminars (recordings can be made available)

HST # R108086463

CPD Credit

3 hours per seminar (15 hours total)


January 18
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:




Law Society of Newfoundland & Labrador