Communicating science in the courtroom

Communicating science in the courtroom

Author: Heather Doran – Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee, United Kingdom


  • Rachel Briscoe – Fast Familiar, United Kingdom
  • Niamh Nic Daeid – Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee, United Kingdom

Members of the public, in the role of jurors, are expected to listen, understand and make judgements in regards to the scientific (and non scientific) evidence presented during a court case and then come to conclusions, beyond reasonable doubt, in regards to the guilt or innocence of an accused person.

Are there ways we could ensure that juries correctly understand the information presented to them? As scientific techniques and their applications become more complex how can we support members of the public to make evidence based decisions? How can we ensure that they understand the limitations of scientific evidence?

The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS), in collaboration with ex-theatre company, Fast Familiar has explored a world leading public experiment using comics as a ‘scientific primer’ in a piece of particapatpry theatre. Members of the public ‘act’ as a jury in a mock-trial evaluating the potential to use alternative and creative means to communicate science to enable them in decision making.

In this session we will share what we have created and the interpretations of the research work we have carried out.

LRCFS is a £10 million, 10 year award-winning disruptive research centre with the aim of increasing the robustness of scientific evidence used within the justice system and ensuring that forensic science is communicated correctly and appropriately. The comics have been created with the University of Dundee Scottish Centre for Comics Studies based on interpretations of scientific evidence techniques from judges, researchers and forensic scientists.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Transformation