, belief. A non-scientific scan of a week’s television schedule reveals

, belief. A non-scientific scan of a week’s television schedule reveals ten2 different forensic-based crime dramas or documentaries, so it is no surprise that jurors arrive at court with what they perceive to be a level of knowledge and familiarity with forensic science. They also arrive with a level of trust in forensic science. Whereas many witnesses may not be believed in a criminal trial, the scientist is seen as a person in whom trust and faith can be reposed. It is a high trust and our systems must ensure that it is not misplaced. But, as been observed, forensic science is not simply ARRY-470 chemical information relevant to a trial; it is highly relevant to public confidence in safety and in abating the fear of crime and crime reduction.Let me therefore examine these two issues in turn, beginning with the role of the judges.(a) The role of the judge: reliabilityThe Law Commission report stated that courts had adopted a `laissez-faire’ policy to the admissibility of expert opinion evidence and only rarely ruled that it was inadmissible on the ground of evidentiary unreliability.6 The Commission went on to say that courts tend to allow expert evidence to be admitted on the assumption that its reliability will be effectively challenged during cross examination or by contrary expert evidence by another party, or both. The Law Commission felt these were insufficient safeguards against unreliability. Indeed sole reliance on cross examination to expose questionable science seems at best brave and at worst foolhardy. It is this issue of the Court willingness (or ability in some cases) to challenge robustly and be courageous in asking some Sch66336 supplier uncomfortable questions of the science before it that needed to be tackled. Key to the new approach are first the recognition of a test of reliability and second the factors that are to be taken into account in assessing reliability. In England and Wales, the condition has been stated as requiring a sufficiently reliable basis for its admissibility.7 The Scottish High Court of Justiciary has also re-stated recently a similar test in Young v HM Advocate 8 as requiring that `it must be based on a recognised and developed scientific discipline’. But what are the factors to be taken into account? The Practice Direction,9 mandatorily applicable and based on the Law Commission’s recommendations, lists them as including: (a) the extent and quality of the data on which the expert’s opinion is based, and the validity of the methods by which they were obtained; (b) if the expert’s opinion relies on an inference from any findings, whether the opinion properly explains how safe or unsafe the inference is (whether by reference to statistical significance or in other appropriate terms); (c) if the expert’s opinion relies on the results of the use of any method (for instance, a test, measurement or survey),2. Ensuring expert evidence has a reliable scientific baseIn dealing with the first of the five conditions I have set out, it is important to reference the major change that has happened in England and Wales over the last 10 years. In 2005, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee called for reform in relation to expert evidence following(d)(e)(f )(g)(h)whether the opinion takes proper account of matters, such as the degree of precision or margin of uncertainty, affecting the accuracy or reliability of those results; the extent to which any material upon which the expert’s opinion is based has been reviewed by others with relevant e., belief. A non-scientific scan of a week’s television schedule reveals ten2 different forensic-based crime dramas or documentaries, so it is no surprise that jurors arrive at court with what they perceive to be a level of knowledge and familiarity with forensic science. They also arrive with a level of trust in forensic science. Whereas many witnesses may not be believed in a criminal trial, the scientist is seen as a person in whom trust and faith can be reposed. It is a high trust and our systems must ensure that it is not misplaced. But, as been observed, forensic science is not simply relevant to a trial; it is highly relevant to public confidence in safety and in abating the fear of crime and crime reduction.Let me therefore examine these two issues in turn, beginning with the role of the judges.(a) The role of the judge: reliabilityThe Law Commission report stated that courts had adopted a `laissez-faire’ policy to the admissibility of expert opinion evidence and only rarely ruled that it was inadmissible on the ground of evidentiary unreliability.6 The Commission went on to say that courts tend to allow expert evidence to be admitted on the assumption that its reliability will be effectively challenged during cross examination or by contrary expert evidence by another party, or both. The Law Commission felt these were insufficient safeguards against unreliability. Indeed sole reliance on cross examination to expose questionable science seems at best brave and at worst foolhardy. It is this issue of the Court willingness (or ability in some cases) to challenge robustly and be courageous in asking some uncomfortable questions of the science before it that needed to be tackled. Key to the new approach are first the recognition of a test of reliability and second the factors that are to be taken into account in assessing reliability. In England and Wales, the condition has been stated as requiring a sufficiently reliable basis for its admissibility.7 The Scottish High Court of Justiciary has also re-stated recently a similar test in Young v HM Advocate 8 as requiring that `it must be based on a recognised and developed scientific discipline’. But what are the factors to be taken into account? The Practice Direction,9 mandatorily applicable and based on the Law Commission’s recommendations, lists them as including: (a) the extent and quality of the data on which the expert’s opinion is based, and the validity of the methods by which they were obtained; (b) if the expert’s opinion relies on an inference from any findings, whether the opinion properly explains how safe or unsafe the inference is (whether by reference to statistical significance or in other appropriate terms); (c) if the expert’s opinion relies on the results of the use of any method (for instance, a test, measurement or survey),2. Ensuring expert evidence has a reliable scientific baseIn dealing with the first of the five conditions I have set out, it is important to reference the major change that has happened in England and Wales over the last 10 years. In 2005, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee called for reform in relation to expert evidence following(d)(e)(f )(g)(h)whether the opinion takes proper account of matters, such as the degree of precision or margin of uncertainty, affecting the accuracy or reliability of those results; the extent to which any material upon which the expert’s opinion is based has been reviewed by others with relevant e.