Consultation 08.09

Law Commission Consultation


The Admissibility of Expert Evidence in Criminal Proceeding in England and Wales

The Law Commission has set out for consultation proposals addressing the problems associated with the admissibility and understanding of expert evidence in criminal proceedings. In particular, the Law Commission examines the approach which should be adopted for scientific, or purportedly scientific, evidence tendered for admission in Crown Court jury trials.

The Law Commission paper does not address issues relevant to the determination of admissibility, but instead will focus on and make proposals for a new approach to the determination of evidentiary reliability of expert evidence in criminal proceedings in the following areas:

  • the fundamental question whether the subject matter of the expert’s evidence is sufficiently organised or recognised to “be accepted as a reliable body of knowledge or experience” (the second of the four requirements listed above); and
  • the case-specific question whether the particular expert witness has properly drawn from that “reliable body of knowledge or experience” to provide a reliable opinion on the factual issue(s) the jury must resolve.

The Law Commission focuses primarily on the first of these two issues, but also addresses the second in its proposals.

The consultation can be accessed on this link to the Law Commission website:

Replies to the consultation are sought by 7th July 2009

posted 06.05.09