Advice for the courts? Sufficiently reliable assistance with forensic science and medicine (Part 2)

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In recent years, following public inquiries (for example, the Goudge Inquiry, 2007–08), reviews (for example, the US National Academy of Science, 2009; the Law Commission of England and Wales, 2011), systematic analysis of wrongful convictions (for example, Innocence Projects) and empirical studies, weaknesses with many types of forensic science and the frailty of the adversarial criminal trial have been exposed, though inadequately addressed. Drawing upon emerging empirical evidence from a variety of common law jurisdictions (and recent work in the sociology of science) and building upon the discussion of the Law Commission's Report and draft Bill (in Part 1), this article considers one means of helping common law courts to respond to some of the primary difficulties raised by incriminating forensic science and forensic medicine evidence. The proposal, involving an independent multidisciplinary advisory panel (or MAP) reviewing impugned forensic science and medical techniques to assess their reliability in order to provide support with admissibility determinations, is intended to provide practical assistance with controversial expert opinion evidence adduced by the state though without excessive encroachment upon the traditional party-dominated accusatorial trial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-297
JournalThe International Journal of Evidence & Proof
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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