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Seminar examines the role of Expert Evidence in the Criminal Justice System

9th November 2017

The scrutiny given to forensic evidence submitted during criminal trials will be examined and debated during a free seminar taking place in Newcastle this month.

The event is the latest in a series of lectures organised by Northumbria University’s Police Research and Education Network, during which academics researching different elements of modern policing will present their findings.

It will focus on concerns, raised most notably by the Law Commission and the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, around the reliability of expert evidence used in criminal proceedings and the legal reform in England and Wales intended to address some of these concerns.

The seminar will be delivered by Sophie Carr, Northumbria’s Acting Head of the Department of Applied Sciences; Emma Piasecki, Director of Learning and Teaching at Northumbria Law School and Katherine Dunn, Senior Lecturer in Law at Northumbria.

Sophie Carr said: “This event aims to consider the provision of expert opinion evidence, using forensic science to illustrate areas where greater critical scrutiny should be applied and practical solutions to enable this.

“We will be reflecting on the role forensic science plays in society, discussing the expectations and inferred assumptions that often go unsaid. For example, are all disciplines within forensic science created equal and should they be treat as such? And to what extent are the different evidence types, such as DNA and fingerprints, able to satisfy the legal requirements for admissibility in any given case?”

Emma Piasecki added: “The criminal justice system generally credits expert opinion evidence, with a level of critical trust. We question whether that trust is justified and suggest that greater scrutiny is often required by those procuring, relying upon and challenging. expert evidence.”

Northumbria University has been assessed as world-leading and internationally-excellent for its research in evidence-based policing, with research themes including Cybercrime & IT, Forensic Science & Police Cooperation, Police Organisation & Staff and Policing & Vulnerability.

Working in partnership with the police and other agencies, in the North East as well as nationally and internationally, the University’s outstanding breadth and depth of expertise in contemporary policing is providing wide-ranging, cutting-edge science and applied research that informs policy and practice.

The Expert Evidence seminar takes place on Wednesday 15 November from 5pm to 6.30pm at Northumbria Law School. For more information on this, and other seminars in the series, and to book a place, please visit the Northumbria University Police Research and Education Network page.

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