The use of statistics in legal proceedings: a primer for courts

Alex Beiderman , Christophe Champod, Jane Hutton, Graham Jackson, Lord Kitchin, Tereza Neocleous, David J. Spiegelhalter, Sheila Willis, Amy L Wilson

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract / Description of output

The judicial primers project is a unique collaboration between members of the judiciary, the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The primers have been created under the direction of a Steering Group initially chaired by Lord Hughes of Ombersley who was succeeded by Lady Justice Rafferty DBE, and are designed to assist the judiciary when handling scientific evidence in the courtroom. They have been written by leading scientists and members of the judiciary, peer reviewed by practitioners and approved by the Councils of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Each primer presents an easily understood, accurate position on the scientific topic in question, and considers the limitations of the science and the challenges associated with its application. The way scientific evidence is used can vary between jurisdictions, but the underpinning science and methodologies remain consistent. For this reason we trust these primers will prove helpful in many jurisdictions throughout the world and assist the judiciary in their understanding of scientific topics. The primers are not intended to replace expert scientific evidence; they are intended to help understand it and assess it, by providing a basic, and so far as possible uncontroversial, statement of the underlying science. The production of this primer on the use of statistics in legal proceedings has been led by Professor Niamh Nic Daéid FRSE. We are most grateful to her, to the Executive Director of the Royal Society, Dr Julie Maxton CBE, the Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, and the members of the Primers Steering Group, the Editorial Board and the Writing Group. Please see the back page for a full list of acknowledgements.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Royal Society
Number of pages72
ISBN (Print)978-1-78252-486-1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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