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 12: Forensic science evidence in non-adversary criminal justice systems

Joëlle Vuille


Debates surrounding forensic science evidence in criminal proceedings have been dominated by practitioners, scholars and advocates working in common law jurisdictions and presupposing adversarial procedural models. It would be easy to conclude that non-adversary procedural systems succeed where their adversary counterparts have failed, by providing forensic science evidence of good quality to decision makers aware of the limitations inherent to such evidence. This chapter aims to show that non-adversary criminal justice systems face their own challenges when forensic science evidence is adduced. Drawing on empirical research data and anecdotal examples, it explains why these systems do not fare as well in practice as might be anticipated on the basis of theoretical extrapolations from procedural models.

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