A report by the House of Lords has recommended that advocates practising in criminal courts should, as part of their continuing professional development, ‘be required to undertake training in the use of scientific evidence in court and basic scientific principles such as probability, scientific inference and research methods’.
The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee made the recommendation in its report, ‘Forensic science and the criminal justice system: a blueprint for change’. The report acknowledges that the quality and delivery of forensic science in England and Wales is ‘inadequate’ and makes a series of recommendations to improve the use of forensic science in the criminal justice system.
The report also references the RSS guide, ‘Statistics and probability for advocates’, (pictured above) which we produced in conjunction with The Inns of Court College of Advocacy. ‘These are potentially useful resources,’ the report notes, ‘but it is not clear how widely used they are by legal practitioners.’
Jane Hutton, chair of the RSS Statistics and Law Section, said: ‘We welcome this report, in particular the recommendation that those who practise in criminal court should be trained in basic scientific principles, including probability. We would also like to thank the House of Lords for highlighting the RSS and ICCA guidance for practitioners and advocates.’