On the likelihood of “encapsulating all uncertainty”

Kristy A. Martire*, Gary Edmond, Daniel J. Navarro, Ben R. Newell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The assignment of personal probabilities to form a forensic practitioner's likelihood ratio is a mental operation subject to all the frailties of human memory, perception and judgment. While we agree that beliefs expressed as coherent probabilities are neither ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’ we argue that debate over this fact obscures both the requirement for and consideration of the ‘helpfulness’ of practitioner's opinions. We also question the extent to which a likelihood ratio based on personal probabilities can realistically be expected to ‘encapsulate all uncertainty’. Courts cannot rigorously assess a forensic practitioner's bare assertions of belief regarding evidential strength. At a minimum, information regarding the uncertainty both within and between the opinions of practitioners is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-79
Number of pages4
JournalScience and Justice
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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