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Probability and the Law

Lecture Theatre 403



Refreshments will be available from 5.30pm.

The event is organised by the Northumbria Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies of Northumbria University.

Probability underlies much legal thinking and decision-making, even if it is not formalised into maths. Judging the more likely of two propositions, or the degree of causality, or assessing the chances of something having happened by chance - all require a weighing up of evidence in a mathematically logical way. However, mathematical logic is not always intuitive, and there are classic errors of thinking that can trip up the most experienced of legal professionals if they are not aware of them. Along with Lord Justice Kitchin, Prof Spiegelhalter is currently writing a judicial primer in the use of probabilities in court that will become a reference for all judges across the UK. This session will introduce many of the concepts and the classic traps of logical fallacy covered in the primer. It is suitable for those with all levels of mathematical knowledge (including none), and will include plenty of time to ask questions and discuss issues that arise.


  • Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter is a statistician, Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge and President of the Royal Statistical Society
  • Dr Alex Freeman, previously a BBC documentary-maker, is Executive Director of the Winton Centre. The Centre works on the communication of evidence in medicine, journalism, politics and the law


To book a space, please complete the form below, for queries email

Event Details

Lecture Theatre 403
School of Law, City Campus East
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne


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