The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Lord President for Scotland have been working with the Royal Society and Royal Society of Edinburgh since 2015 to create a series of judicial primers. These are documents which provide the accepted underpinning science behind forensic evidence, combined with the applications and accepted limitations of how these scientific areas are implemented in practice within casework. In short, they are designed to assist the judiciary when handling scientific evidence in the courtroom.
The Judicial Primer steering committee suggested that a judicial primer on fire investigation would be a useful addition to the portfolio and Hawkins is proud to confirm that fire expert Dr Nick Carey was asked to chair the writing group for the now published judicial primer “Fire Investigation – A Primer for Courts.”
The primer, which has taken two years to develop, review and publish, has been written by leading scientists, peer reviewed by scientists and members of the judiciary, and approved by the Councils of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Rather than replace expert scientific evidence; the judicial primer is intended to help understand it and assess it by providing a basic and, so far as possible, uncontroversial statement of the underlying science. By doing so, it is expected that this primer will assist the judiciary in their understanding of the science behind fire investigation.