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McCartney, C; CASSELLA, John
Languages: English
Types: Unknown

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The marriage of law and science has most often been represented as discordant.\ud While the law/science divide meme is hardly novel, concerns over the potentially\ud deleterious coupling within the criminal justice system may have reached fever pitch.\ud There is a growing chorus of disapproval addressed to ‘forensic science’, accompanied by the denigration of legal professionals for being unable or unwilling to forge a symbiotic relationship with forensic scientists. The 2009 National Academy of Sciences Report on forensic science heralds the latest call for greater collaboration between ‘law’ and ‘science’, particularly in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) yet little reaction has been apparent amid law and science faculties. To investigate the potential for interdisciplinary cooperation, the authors received funding for a project: ‘Lowering the Drawbridges:\ud Forensic and Legal Education in the 21st Century’, hoping to stimulate both law and\ud forensic science educators to seek mutually beneficial solutions to common educational problems and build vital connections in the academy. A workshop held in the UK,\ud attended by academics and practitioners from scientific, policing, and legal backgrounds marked the commencement of the project. This paper outlines some of the workshop conclusions to elucidate areas of dissent and consensus, and where further dialogue is required, but aims to strike a note of optimism that the ‘cultural divide’ should not be taken to be so wide as to be beyond the legal and forensic science academy to bridge.\ud The authors seek to demonstrate that legal and forensic science educators can work cooperatively to respond to critics and forge new paths in learning and teaching, creating an opportunity to take stock and enrich our discipline as well as answer critics. As Latham (2010:34) exhorts, we are not interested in turning lawyers into scientists and vice versa, but building a foundation upon which they can build during their professional lives: “Instead of melding the two cultures, we need to establish conditions of cooperation, mutual respect, and mutual reliance between them.” Law and forensic science educators should, and can assist with the building of a mutual understanding between forensic scientists and legal professionals, a significant step on the road to answering calls for the professions to minimise some of the risks associated with the use of forensic science in the criminal process.\ud REFERENCES\ud Latham, S.R. 2010, ‘Law between the cultures: C.P.Snow’s The Two Cultures and the problem of\ud scientific illiteracy in law’ 32 Technology in Society, 31-34.\ud KEYWORDS\ud forensic science education\ud legal education\ud law/science divide
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    • Dror, I.E. (2012). Cognitive bias in forensic science. In the 2012 Yearbook of Science & Technology, pp 43-45. McGraw-Hill.
    • Dror, I.E. (2012). Combating bias: The next step in gfihting cognitive and psychological contamination. Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol 57 (1), pp 276-277.
    • Dror, I.E. and Rosenthal, R. (2008). Meta-analytically quantifying the reliability and biasability of forensic experts. Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol 53(4), pp 900-903.
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