Miscarriages of justice and the role of the expert witness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the role of the expert witness and the ways in which it has been both informed and formed by the high-profile miscarriages of justice. The expert witness is alone in the courtroom in being able to give opinion evidence and is there to assist the court with elucidating and presenting information about a specialist subject which is outside the expertise of the jury. This anomalous role was developed during the eighteenth century and the ability to give an opinion remains the primary factor that separates the role of the expert witness from that of other witnesses in court. In addition to the issue of non-disclosure, the appeals into the Maguire Seven, Birmingham Six and Judith Ward all exposed the problem of bias in relation to the evidence given by the expert witnesses. The experts were accused of having lost their impartiality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Expert Witness, Forensic Science, and the Criminal Justice Systems of the UK
EditorsLucina Hackman, Fiona Raitt, Sue Black
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781498705707
ISBN (Print)9781498705691
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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