History of the Law's Reception of Forensic Science

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The legal reception of forensic identification science varies from one legal system and culture to another. In Anglo-American law, rules and practices for screening expert testimony have developed over more than three centuries. The most aggressive gatekeeping has evolved in the United States - from tests involving the qualifications of the expert, to the evaluation of the expert in the marketplace, to general acceptance of the expertise in its own field (Frye), to the validity of the expertise (Daubert). But even in the United States, the general practice for admission of forensic science expert testimony has long been a liberal one: forensic sciences have been admitted with little evaluation of their claims. Ineffective judicial evaluation is evidenced by widespread admission of what were later found by scientists to be unsound theories and techniques (voiceprints, bullet lead comparison, arson indicators), and by the histories of other forensic identification sciences (handwriting, fingerprints, toolmarks, bitemarks). The past might or might not foretell the future of judicial treatment of the forensic sciences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Forensic Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780123821652
ISBN (Print)9780123821669
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Admissibility
  • Admission
  • Courts
  • Daubert
  • Frye
  • History
  • Rules of evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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