26 October 2009

Scientific Expert Witnesses

Uncertainty by Ella Guru.

There's a thread running through this blog regarding evidence; particularly expert opinion evidence, and especially scientific expert opinion evidence.

It seems that the law in England and Wales just can't cope with the admissibility, or otherwise, of this sort of evidence. This is in contrast with the US jurisdiction, since they have Daubert: a court case that clarifies the position on the admissibility of scientific expert opinion evidence. I do have criticisms of some (well, one of) the criteria described in this case but at least there are admissibility criteria.

In our jurisdiction we have to witness the humiliating spectacle of Mr Justice Weir crawling over broken glass as a means of begging for the introduction of the Daubert criteria (or similar) to be introduced into our jurisdiction (R v Hoey, para 64).

I'm sure that I've blogged about this before but the subject keeps on coming up again and again. There is a good chance that a lot of potential litigation would evaporate (eg The BCA and Ancient History) if admissibility criteria were introduced.

Instead we have expensive litigation.

What a waste.

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