Evaluating testimony is hugely important in both civil and criminal justice. For example, whether a witness is reliable can make the difference between conviction and acquittal of a defendant, or a person being granted leave to remain rather than facing deportation. However, It is difficult to determine accurately whether a person providing testimony is being truthful and is likely to be accurate in their assessments. Scientific research provides insight into cues that might help us evaluate testimony more accurately, but this insight is not utilised by legal systems.
We are working on a large-scale evaluation of testimony evaluation, that examines the basic science of testimony evaluation and translates scientific research into practical and normatively appropriate legal procedure and best-practice guidelines. This project includes:
Examining how people evaluate the testimony of others, including identifying assumptions that people rely on and the psychological and neurological mechanisms underlying such evaluations.
Analysing testimony evaluation in current legal practice, and the relationship between testimony evaluation, miscarriages of justice, and systematic failures to prosecute in certain types of case.
Translating scientific research into practical and normatively appropriate legal procedure and best-practice guidelines in collaboration with our practitioner partners.
For more information on our work on testimony evaluation, please get in touch via the contact us page.