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Expert Scientific Evidence Under the Adversarial System: A Travesty of Justice?

NCJ Number
Journal of the Forensic Science Society Volume: 32 Issue: 3 Dated: (1992) Pages: 225-235
J D J Havard
Date Published
11 pages
The procedures for providing courts with expert scientific evidence under the adversarial and inquisitorial systems are reviewed, with emphasis on the role of the Home Office as the principal provider of such evidence under English law.
The analysis concludes that recent advances in technology must lead to increasing interdependence of the various disciplines involved and that the current artificial distinctions between forensic pathology and science and between other disciplines are unsatisfactory. The discussion also notes that in many European countries, medical-legal institutions of universities provide the courts with comprehensive expert scientific services that are non-confrontational and do not place experts in the position of appearing for one of the parties in a legal action. In contrast, procrastination and mismanagement by the Home Office has allowed the British situation to deteriorate, seriously harming the morale of the regional forensic scientific laboratory staff and the recruitment and training of forensic pathologists. Therefore, Great Britain should cease to ignore the practices of many other European countries and should promote the needed cooperation among the scientific disciplines involved. 21 references (Author abstract modified)