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Communicating expert evidence in the criminal justice system (RDF20/BL/LAW/WARD)


Project Description

Expert evidence plays an increasingly significant role in criminal proceedings The importance of establishing the validity of scientific evidence, and communicating it clearly to non-scientists, is broadly accepted in academic literature. However, there is a dearth of research about how this is translated into practice. The aim of this research project is to fill the gap by studying expert reports and by observing cases in the Crown Court and Magistrates’ Courts where it is expected that experts will give oral evidence. The research should include analysis of the way experts communicate their findings, both in writing and in oral evidence; judicial rulings on admissibility;, and the nature of cross-examination.

Your research proposal should explain the methods you would apply to the study and how it would be informed by the literature in other disciplines (for example, linguistics, psychology or sociology) as well as law. Although the focus is on the criminal justice system, proposals which also include civil and coronial systems or tribunals will be considered.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

- Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
- Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
- Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020.

Start Date: 1 October 2020.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Students Worldwide where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.

References

Sophie Carr, Emma Piasecki, Gillian Tully and Tim J. Wilson, ‘Opening the scientific expert's black box: "critical trust" as a reformative principle in criminal evidence. (2016) 80(5) J Crim L 364.

Gemma Davies and Emma Piasecki, ‘No more laissez faire? Expert evidence, rule changes and reliability: can more effective training for the bar and judiciary prevent miscarriages of justice?’ (2016) 80(5) J Crim L 327.

Paul Roberts and Tony Ward, ‘Expert Evidence in Trials for Sexual Offences’ in Witness Testimony in Sexual Cases, eds. G. Gudjonsson, A. Heaton-Armstrong, P. Radcliffe and D. Wolchover. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Tony Ward ‘“A New and More Rigorous Approach” to Expert Evidence in England and Wales?’ (2015) 19(4) E&P 228-245.

Tony Ward, Gary Edmond, Kristy A. Martire and Natalie Wortley, ‘Forensic Science, Scientific Validity and Reliability: Advice from America’ [2017] Crim LR 357-78.

Tony Ward, ‘Admissibility, Reliability and Common-Law Epistemology’ in Forensic Science and Expert Witness Testimony: Reliability Through Reform, eds. P Roberts and M Stockdale (Edward Elgar 2018).

Sophie Carr, Gary Edmond and Emma Piasecki, Science Friction: Streamlined Forensic Reporting, Reliability and Justice. (2018) OJLS 38(4), 764-792.

Sophie Carr, Emma Piasecki, Gill Tully and Tim Wilson, ‘Clarifying the Reliability Continuum and Testing its Limits: Biometric (Fingerprint and DNA) Expert Evidence’, in Forensic Science and Expert Witness Testimony: Reliability Through Reform, eds. P Roberts and M Stockdale (Edward Elgar 2018).

Adam Jackson, Emma Piasecki and Tim Wilson, ‘Re-examining the ‘Reliability’ of Forensic Pathology Evidence’ in Forensic Science and Expert Witness Testimony: Reliability Through Reform, eds. P Roberts and M Stockdale (Edward Elgar 2018).

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