Law Commission (UK) Consultation Paper on Expert Evidence in Criminal Trials
Professor Jeremy Horder, the Commissioner leading the project, has stated:
"The parties in criminal trials are relying increasingly on the evidence of expert witnesses. Expert evidence, particularly scientific evidence, can have a very persuasive effect on juries. It is vital that such evidence should be used only if it provides a sound basis for determining a defendant’s guilt or innocence. There have been miscarriages of justice in recent years where prosecution expert evidence of doubtful reliability has been placed before Crown Court juries. There may also have been unwarranted acquittals attributable to such evidence. We want to ensure that the criminal courts have the means to authenticate expert evidence and be satisfied that the information before them is sound. We have formulated some provisional proposals and questions, and would like to know what others, particularly scientists and other experts, think of them."The consultation closes in July 2009.