Forensic Science Evidence and Expert Witness Testimony
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Forensic Science Evidence and Expert Witness Testimony

Reliability through Reform?

Edited by Paul Roberts and Michael Stockdale

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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Chapter 4: Regulating forensic science

Gillian Tully

Abstract

In this chapter, the current Forensic Science Regulator describes the regulatory framework for forensic science quality in England and Wales and elucidates its underpinning values in terms of balance, logic, robustness and transparency. Quality standards, when appropriately drafted and effectively implemented, address the fundamental prerequisites for reliable scientific results to be obtained. However, ongoing practical challenges and risks to the quality and reliability of forensic science evidence remain, including funding constraints and weaknesses in commissioning and case management. The chapter concludes that for existing gaps in compliance with quality standards to be eliminated effectively, the role of Forensic Science Regulator needs to be placed on a statutory footing and that courts should monitor and enforce compliance with the provisions governing expert evidence contained in the Criminal Procedure Rules and Criminal Practice Directions. Fully implementing these additional safeguards would further ameliorate the risks posed by unreliable science to the proper administration of criminal justice.

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