Forensic Science Evidence and Expert Witness Testimony


Forensic Science Evidence and Expert Witness Testimony

Reliability through Reform?

9781788111027 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Paul Roberts, Professor of Criminal Jurisprudence, University of Nottingham and Michael Stockdale, Professor, Head of Law and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78811 102 7 Extent: 456 pp
Forensic science evidence plays a pivotal role in modern criminal proceedings. Yet such evidence poses intense practical and theoretical challenges. It can be unreliable or misleading and has been associated with miscarriages of justice. In this original and insightful book, a global team of prominent scholars and practitioners explore the contemporary challenges of forensic science evidence and expert witness testimony from a variety of theoretical, practical and jurisdictional perspectives. Chapters encompass the institutional organisation of forensic science, its procedural regulation, evaluation and reform, and brim with comparative insight.

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This book discusses the intense practical and theoretical challenges of forensic science evidence and the pivotal role it plays in modern criminal proceedings. A global team of prominent scholars and practitioners explores the contemporary challenges of forensic science evidence and expert witness testimony from a variety of theoretical, practical and jurisdictional perspectives.

Both the methodological integrity and the reliability of forensic science have been questioned in recent official reports and inquiries. The wide-ranging contributions to this book offer thorough and far-reaching explorations of the institutional organisation of forensic science, its epistemological and methodological foundations, and its procedural regulation, applications and evaluation in multiple legal jurisdictions. The development and reform of expert evidence law and procedural regulation are reconsidered from a range of legal and scientific perspectives. Brimming with comparative and interdisciplinary insight, this book also explores the transnational dimensions of contemporary forensic science, assessing its value and appropriate uses as expert evidence in criminal investigations, prosecutions and trials.

This contemporary book will be essential reading for scholars, advanced students, practitioners and policymakers concerned with the role of forensic science in the administration of criminal justice.
Critical Acclaim
‘This multi-author volume contains contributions from experts in the field from seven jurisdictions. The unifying theme of this book concerns the search for greater reliability in forensic science evidence as communicated to courts by means of expert witness testimony. The opening chapter, provided by the editors, ties much of the volume together by examining challenges in this area that transcend borders.’
– Thomas Mohr, Irish Jurist

‘This book ought to be an essential resource for anyone who has an interest in forensic science evidence and the problems associated with it. It offers a broad range of perspectives, sophisticated analysis of what have proved to be persistent problems with the relevant bodies of law and in all jurisdictions. It ought to be one of the starting points for those who might be charged with the task of finding solutions to these problems. Those who find themselves in the position of having to cross-examine experts are likely to benefit from the incisive analysis of the flaws in much forensic science evidence. Those who write about and teach the law of evidence will find it to be a rich source of material.’
– Andrew Roberts, Criminal Law Review

‘Most specialist readers will discover material in this book that
they will find thought-provoking and far-reaching. Generalist readers, strategic analysts, regulators and policy-makers, future and aspiring forensic scientists newly entering the field, lawyers and legal scholars who seek access to a difficult but fundamental topic should consider this book as a primary, authoritative and up-to-date reference.’
– Alex Biedermann, The Modern Law Review

‘As courts struggle to assimilate scientific evidence, so scientists struggle to justify its reliability. These excellent essays written by lawyers, scientists and regulators canvass the institutional responses to these struggles in various adversarial and non-adversarial jurisdictions, vividly providing up-to-date, critical and valuable insights into the myriad of problems faced.’
– Andrew Ligertwood, The University of Adelaide, Australia

‘Such is the importance of scientific evidence in criminal trials and civil suits that this edited collection should be required reading for law practitioners and expert witnesses alike. Significant and thought-provoking insights are offered in each of the 13 chapters, with contributions from forensic scientists and legal scholars.’
– Pamela Ferguson, University of Dundee, UK
Contributors: S. Carr, E. Cunliffe, G. Edmond, S. Farrar, A. Gallop, R. Graham, L. Heffernan, E.J. Imwinkelried, A. Jackson, C. McCartney, M.M. Muhamad, E. Piasecki, P. Roberts, M. Stockdale, G. Tully, J. Vuille, T. Ward, T.J. Wilson


Introduction: Forensic Science, Evidential Reliability and Institutional Reform
Paul Roberts and Michael Stockdale

1. Making Sense of Forensic Science Evidence
Paul Roberts

2. Re-assessing Reliability
Gary Edmond

3. Admissibility, Reliability and Common Law Epistemology
Tony Ward

4. Regulating Forensic Science
Gillian Tully

5. Clarifying the ‘Reliability’ Continuum and Testing its Limits: Biometric (Fingerprint and DNA) Expert Evidence
Sophie Carr, Angela Gallop, Emma Piasecki, Gillian Tully, and Tim J Wilson

6. Re-examining the ‘Reliability’ of Forensic Pathology Evidence
Tim J Wilson, Adam Jackson, Angela Gallop and Emma Piasecki

7. Reliability by Procedural Rule Reform? Expert Evidence and the Civil-Criminal-Family Procedure Rules Trichotomy
Michael Stockdale

8. Expert Evidence Law Reform in Ireland
Liz Heffernan

9. Regulating Expert Evidence in US Courts: Measuring Daubert’s Legacy
Edward J Imwinkelried

10. A New Canadian Paradigm? Judicial Gatekeeping and the Reliability of Expert Evidence
Emma Cunliffe

11. Reliability and Reform of Expert Evidence in Malaysia’s Developmental State: Putting the Cart before the Horse?
Salim Farrar and Mohd Munzil Bin Muhamad

12. Forensic Science Evidence in Non-adversary Criminal Justice Systems
Joëlle Vuille

13. ‘All We Need to Know’? Questioning Transnational Scientific Evidence
Carole McCartney and Rick Graham

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