Expert evidence and criminal jury trials

Ian Freckelton, Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Jacqueline Horan, Blake McKimmie

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Abstract

With expert evidence being relied upon ever more frequently in criminal jury cases, evaluation of its admissibility and presentation is being increasingly thrust into the spotlight. However, courts have been reluctant to allow anyone, including researchers, to ask jurors about their deliberations and verdicts in criminal trials, despite this being essential to form an understanding of the challenges they face. Expert Evidence and Criminal Jury Trials draws on an unprecedented empirical study carried out in three Australian jurisdictions. The experiences of real jurors, judges, lawyers, and experts regarding the expert evidence presented to them across a range of 55 criminal trials are analysed and compared in order to illuminate how complex and sometimes conflicting evidence is perceived and understood within adversarial trial systems. The author's insights are intended to facilitate a broader understanding of the role of expert evidence in jury cases and the impediments to effective communication of information to juror, including how these may be alleviated. This study challenges courts, jury trial practitioners, and law reformers to reframe current discussions surrounding expert evidence and to consider innovative options for presentation of expert evidence to jurors, and different criteria for the admissibility of experts' opinions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages272
Edition1st
ISBN (Print)9780198746348
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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