CHE-40025 - Forensic Evidence: At the crime scene and in the court
Coordinator: Clare L Smith Tel: +44 1782 7 34113
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 7
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734921

Programme/Approved Electives for 2021/22


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2021/22

This module provides study of the two end-points of the forensic process, namely the crime scene and the court, and, as such, complements the study of the chemical and physical analysis of evidential materials that forms the basis of other modules at level 7. In detail, the first section covers study of the assessment of a crime scene and the formulation of a forensic strategy based on evidential value, both for investigative and conviction goals. The admissibility of forensic evidence in the court and the consequences for the forensic scientist are discussed through the use of real case-studies. Evidence evaluation and, in particular, the logical evaluation using Bayesian inference are reviewed and applied to a variety of evidence types. Finally, the role of the expert witness in the court is critically reviewed in detail and again illustrated using case-studies.

This module aims to:
To provide in-depth study of the two end-points of the forensic process - the crime scene and the court
Explain and illustrate how forensic science at the crime scene may be used to provide investigative leads as well as evidence leading to conviction in the court
Provide a sound understanding of evidential value and the processes supporting both investigative and conviction forensics
Provide a critical evaluation of the importance of the admissibility of evidence and the factors that may contribute to evidence being rejected by the court
Engender skills in critically reviewing approaches to evidence evaluation according to evidence type, including appropriate use of statistical tools
Provide a sound understanding of the court procedures regarding the scientific expert witness and the court's expectations of such witnesses
Facilitate the development of advanced skills in the preparation of concise expert witness reports on different evidence types and according to the circumstances of a given case scenario
Engender skills in the preparation and delivery of oral testimony to the court and the ability to defend it under cross-examination.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe and critically evaluate the role of the crime scene and the court within the forensic process, including much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the discipline: 1,2,3
evaluate critically current scholarship in the forensic-legal process by applying conceptual knowledge and methodologies
: 2
deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate conclusions clearly to professional and non-specialist audiences: 1,2,3
describe and critically evaluate how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to interpret knowledge in the forensic-legal process: 2,3

Study hours

Scheduled teaching hours:
Content study and delivery: 16 hours
Workshops/ problem classes: 8 hours
Cross-examination formative session: 0.5 hours
Independent study hours
Cross examination: 0.5 hours
Preparation for workshops: 20 hours
Preparation of reports and testimony: 35 hours
Self-directed study: 70 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Report weighted 30%
Forensic report for the Senior Investigating Officer
This is a concise report (~1000 words) on the findings from forensic examination of a crime scene indicating the forensic strategy and procedures being recommended to the senior police officer.

2: Viva weighted 30%
Expert witness cross-examination
This is the examination and cross-examination of the expert witness (20 min) in a mock court on the basis of the testimony submitted on forensic evidence (assessment 3).

3: Practice Based Assessment weighted 40%
Expert Witness Statement
This is a written testimony for the court (~1500 words) based on a given scenario and associated forensic data.