The Sydney declaration – Revisiting the essence of forensic science through its fundamental principles

Claude Roux, Rebecca Bucht, Frank Crispino, Peter De Forest, Chris Lennard, Pierre Margot, Michelle D. Miranda, Niamh NicDaeid, Olivier Ribaux, Alastair Ross, Sheila Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
206 Downloads (Pure)


Unlike other more established disciplines, a shared understanding and broad acceptance of the essence of forensic science, its purpose, and fundamental principles are still missing or mis-represented. This foundation has been overlooked, although recognised by many forensic science forefathers and seen as critical to this discipline's advancement. The Sydney Declaration attempts to revisit the essence of forensic science through its foundational basis, beyond organisations, technicalities or protocols. It comprises a definition of forensic science and seven fundamental principles that emphasise the pivotal role of the trace as a vestige, or remnant, of an investigated activity. The Sydney Declaration also discusses critical features framing the forensic scientist's work, such as context, time asymmetry, the continuum of uncertainties, broad scientific knowledge, ethics, critical thinking, and logical reasoning. It is argued that the proposed principles should underpin the practice of forensic science and guide education and research directions. Ultimately, they will benefit forensic science as a whole to be more relevant, effective and reliable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111182
Number of pages10
JournalForensic Science International
Early online date11 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Clues
  • Context
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethics
  • Logical reasoning
  • Principles
  • Signs
  • Time asymmetry
  • Trace
  • Uncertainties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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