The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has started a programme of work to improve the reliability of expert evidence in court. This area forms a major building block in the development of the training of advocates. The College is working closely with practitioners and partner organisations to create a suite of materials which will aid advocates to better understand, deploy and challenge expert evidence.
Statistics and probability for advocates
As more and more fields of expertise are using data; ICCA has prioritised the development of a guidebook covering the use and interpretation of statistical evidence in court and tribunals. This 74-page guide has been created in partnership with the Royal Statistical Society (RSS). The Society’s work on Statistics and the Law provided a very fitting frame for collaboration.
Statistical evidence and probabilistic reasoning form part of expert witnesses’ testimony in an increasingly wide range of litigation. The guide aims to identify the main traps and pitfalls that advocates are likely to meet when handling expert evidence.
Although the booklet does not claim to hold all the answers, it is hoped that it will encourage advocates to investigate further opportunities for professional development in the understanding, interpretation and presentation of statistical and probabilistic evidence. It should also help practitioners to consult more effectively with appropriate expert witnesses in the preparation of their cases, and know how to effectively deploy and challenge expert evidence and opinion.
These knowledge and skills are necessary to avoid miscarriages of justice, which may have occurred in the past due to the inappropriate use and understanding of, statistics and probability by judges, expert witnesses and advocates.
As well as the RSS collaboration, ICCA has drawn upon the expertise of seasoned law practitioners to create the paper entitled: Guidance on the preparation admission and examination of expert evidence. This document aims to identify and promote the basis of good practice which is commonly accepted across the profession.
The College is partnering with leading organisations to address further areas of specialism within expert evidence; please keep visiting this section or follow us on Twitter (@Inns_College) for updates.