Weakening and strengthening forensic science in Europe
David Teira (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia)
Friday 2 September, 16:00-17:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The panel will discuss, from an interdisciplinary standpoint, to what extent can we quantify the uncertainty of forensic reports, and whether it is possible to agree on a European standard for reporting uncertainty in court.

Long abstract:

During the last decade European courts have moved in opposite directions in the way they deal with the uncertainty of forensic evidence. To what extent a piece of forensic evidence provides proof of guilt or innocence? How reliable is the science behind forensic analyses? Whereas countries like Sweden have tried to quantify and standardize the uncertainty of each forensic report, so that it can be reliably communicated in court, Spain has chosen to neglect forensic uncertainty and present evidence in court in terms of categorical statements, without giving the defendant the option to confront and question the forensic expert. In this session we want to bring together forensic practitioners, sociologists and philosophers of science to discuss which way is best to face forensic uncertainty.


Col. Jose Juan Lucena, Head, Escuela de Especialización of the Spanish Guardia Civil (military police)

Dr. Corinna Kruse, Technology and Social Change, Linköping University

Dr. Marion Vorms (Psychology, Birbeck College)

Prof. Annouk Barberousse, Dr. Isabelle Drouet (Philosophy, Paris IV)

Dr. David Teira (Philosophy, UNED), chair and discussant

Lucena will present, from a practitioner's perspective, how the

uncertainty of forensic reports is evaluated in Europe. Kruse, from a

STS standpoint, will present her fieldwork with the pioneering Swedish

initiative of standardizing forensic uncertainty with Bayesian

statistics. Vorms would explore, through experimental evidence, what

forensic "reasonable doubt" may mean in various situations of

decision-making under uncertainty. Barberousse and Drouet will discuss,

from a philosophy of science standpoint, the sources of the credibility

of forensic experts.