‘Regularising the Regulator: the Government’s Consultation about Placing the Forensic Science Regulator on a Statutory Footing’

Tim Wilson, Michael Stockdale, Angela Gallop, Bill Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article comments on a recent Home Office consultation about making forensic regulation statutory and the government’s response to the Law Commission’s recommendations for reforming the admissibility of expert evidence in criminal trials. By suggesting a duty of ‘omissive disclosure’ we offer a possible solution to concerns expressed to parliamentary inquiries about the ‘fragmentation’ of forensic science evidence and how reform, including regulation, might bear on (and support) individual scientific and medico-legal experts, as well as organisations and methods. We welcome the regulation initiative, but suggest that government policy also needs to address interrelated and systemic problems that beset the production of scientific and medico-legal evidence. We argue that these problems stem from fragmented policy making between and within government departments, possibly a similar fragmentation in jurisdictional rule-making and, reflecting their economic influence, the degree of responsibility vested inadvertently in the police and the CPS. We also suggest that regulation is not an alternative to implementing the Law Commission’s recommendations, which together with forensic regulation should not be confined to criminal courts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-163
JournalThe Journal of Criminal Law
Volume78
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

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