Why we do it

The overall aim of Linked Forensic Consultants is to improve the quality and reliability of forensic evidence and ensure that Science is an effective servant of Justice.

This aim influences all our areas of work but has most impact and significance in our forensic casework.

We are available for instruction by any party to civil or criminal proceedings. We provide expert evidence and forensic science consultancy in support of a fair trial.

Our six decades of experience, working mainly in state funded forensic science laboratories and for law enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities, makes us acutely aware of how unequal the “equality of arms” can be in criminal proceedings. The accused faces all the resources of the state; law enforcement, law and science. This inequality of arms is clearly recognised but hardly addressed. By critically reviewing evidence Linked Forensic Consultants can help to restore some balance and ensure a fair trial, in so far as we are able.

Forensic evidence, particularly scientific evidence, is often assumed to be reliable and therefore rarely reviewed or challenged. In fact, as is widely documented1 – for example in the so called NAS and PCAST reports – forensic evidence is often not as reliable as it seems or should be. Many forensic disciplines have a poor basis in science; are susceptible to cognitive biases and logical fallacies, and in which evidence is presented improperly. It is essential that scientific evidence presented by the prosecution in a criminal trial is subject to review. In addition, to risking a miscarriage of justice, lack of expert scrutiny and challenge can lead to complacency and falling standards.

As history clearly demonstrates, the most effective way to improve the quality of forensic evidence is to question its reliability.

1 Appellate court judgements (e.g. R v T [2010] EWCA Crim2439 and R v George [2007] EWCA Crim2722); reports (Expert evidence in criminal proceedings in England and Wales [2011], The Law Commission No.325) and academic studies (Strengthening forensic science in the United Sates: a path forward [2009], NAS) all highlight the fact that forensic evidence is often not as reliable as it seems or should be.