THE LAW COMMISSION – HOW WE CONSULT
About the Law Commission
The Law Commission was set up by section 1 of the Law Commissions Act 1965 for the purpose of promoting thereform of the law.The Law Commissioners are: The Rt Hon Lord Justice Etherton (
Professor Elizabeth Cooke, Mr DavidHertzell, Professor Jeremy Horder and Kenneth Parker QC.The Chief Executive of the Law Commission is: Mr Mark Ormerod.
Topic of this consultation
This consultation paper addresses the problems associated with the admissibility and understanding of expertevidence in criminal trials. We believe the current approach to the admissibility of expert evidence in criminal trials is inneed of reform. We would welcome views on our provisional proposals.This paper is the first Law Commission publication relating to this area of the law. It follows calls for reform from anumber of scientists, practitioners and legal academics and from the House of Commons’ Science and TechnologyCommittee in its Seventh Report,
Forensic Science on Trial
(2004-2005) HC 96-1. The Committee recommended thatthe Forensic Science Advisory Council, judges, scientists and other key players in the criminal justice system shouldwork together to develop a new test for determining the admissibility of expert evidence in criminal proceedings.We have already discussed our provisional proposals with a number of academics, legal professionals and theForensic Science Regulator. Our consultation paper has also been reviewed by HHJ Jeremy Roberts QC.
Scope of this consultation
The purpose of this consultation is to generate responses to our provisional proposals with a view to makingrecommendations for reform to Parliament. Our proposals are set out in Part 6. Our key questions for consultation areset out in paragraphs 6.78 to 6.83.
This consultation paper refers to the law of England and Wales.
An impact assessment, setting out the potential impact of our proposed reforms, is included as Appendix C. Keyquestions for consultation regarding this assessment can be found in paragraphs C.59 to C.62 of Appendix C (and inparagraphs 6.84 to 6.88 of the consultation paper itself).
Duration of the consultation
We invite responses from 7 April to 7 July 2009.
After the consultation
In the light of the responses we receive, we will decide our final recommendations and we will present them toParliament. We hope to publish our final report in 2010. It will be for Parliament to decide whether to approve anychanges to the law.
Code of Practice
We are a signatory to the Government’s Code of Practice on Consultation and carry out our consultations inaccordance with the Code criteria (set out on the next page).
Freedom of information
We will treat all responses as public documents in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and we may attributecomments and include a list of all respondents' names in any final report we publish. If you wish to submit a confidentialresponse, you should contact us before sending the response. PLEASE NOTE – We will disregard automatic confidentialitystatements generated by an IT system.
Availability of this consultation paper
You can view/download it free of charge on our website at:
How to respond
Please send your responses either –
By email to:
By post to:
Raymond Emson, Law Commission, Steel House, 11 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9LJTel: 020 3334 0272 / Fax:020 3334 0201;OR
:http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/lc-forumIf you send your comments by post, it would be helpful if, whenever possible, you could send them to uselectronically as well (for example, on CD or by email to the above address, in any commonly used format).