7.1 This chapter discusses the hearsay rule, as codified in s 59 of the uniform Evidence Acts. Also discussed is the most controversial exception to the hearsay rule—the exception for evidence admitted for a non-hearsay purpose which is relevant for a hearsay purpose. There are two other categories of exception. One category applies to first-hand hearsay—that is, where the maker has personal knowledge of the asserted fact. The other category applies to second-hand and more remote hearsay. These categories of exception are considered in Chapter 8. Aspects of the hearsay rule arising in special contexts are discussed elsewhere, including in relation to evidence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional laws and customs (Chapter 19), as well as evidence in sexual offence cases, from child witnesses and in family law proceedings (Chapter 20).
7.2 Two recommendations are made for legislative amendment of ss 59 and 60. As the discussion of case law below will show, these recommendations are made because the operation of ss 59 and 60 is unclear in certain respects and would benefit from clarification in the light of experience and judicial interpretation since enactment of the uniform Evidence Acts. There is a risk that confusion will prevent the intention of the legislation being fully implemented. There is also a need to limit the operation of s 60 as it relates to hearsay evidence in criminal trials.
7.3 The first part of the chapter will describe the hearsay rule established by s 59 and an interpretive difficulty posed by s 59. Discussion will then turn to s 60, which provides an exception to the hearsay rule for evidence admitted for a non-hearsay purpose but which is relevant for a hearsay purpose.
 Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) s 60; Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) s 60; Evidence Act 2004 (NI) s 60; Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) s 60. In terms of the order in which the provisions of the Acts are applied, however, s 60 only applies once the evidence is admitted for another purpose. It is not the ‘first’ hearsay exception in that sense.
Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) ss 63–66; Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) ss 63–66; Evidence Act 2004 (NI) ss 63–66; Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) ss 63–66.
Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) ss 69–75; Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) ss 69–75; Evidence Act 2004 (NI) ss 69–75; Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) ss 69–75.