Law on Trial 2014: Scientific Evidence

Event Date: 16 – 20  June 2014
Room B34
Birbeck, University London
Malet Street,
London WC1E 7HX

Birkbeck School of Law presents:

Law on Trial 2014: Scientific Evidence

Monday 16 June 2014
Professor Renata Salecl – What’s on my mind? Law, neuroscience and psychoanalysis.
Inaugural Lecture

Tuesday 17 June 2014
Justice and research evidence
Examining the use of research evidence to police rape cases.
Panel: Professor Betsy Stanko, Paul Turnbull and Harriet Wistrich (Birnberg Peirce & Partners).
Why Tell Law: There is great debate about why rape is so difficult to prosecute in England and Wales. It is very low compared to the increasing number of allegations being reported to the police. Just earlier this month the CPS and the Police published an action plan to improve their working relationship with the hope this would result in more convictions. This talk raises a number of key questions not only about the response of the criminal justice system to these rape complaints, but to the very heart of what rape ‘is’ as a criminal offence. Professor Betsy Stanko will give the main presentation which will be discussed by Harriet Wistrich and Paul Turnbull.

Wednesday 18 June 2014
Forensic futures
Panel: Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths), and Maja Petrović-Šteger(University of Cambridge and Stewart Motha (Birkbeck)
Forensics conjures the sense of a truth established by science in the service of the law. But the origin of ‘forensic’ in the Latin forensis – ‘pertaining to the forum’ – is more wide-ranging. Forensis invokes a site of negotiation between humans, technologies, and material things. This wider meaning opens the possibility of a forensic future where science and technology become the basis for holding states to account for mass violence and systematic neglect. Eyal Weizman and Maja Petrović-Šteger explore how new technologies, satellite imaging, landscapes, DNA, bones and human remains have emerged as material objects that ‘speak and testify’ to state crimes and mass violence. Their account of forensic architecture and the testimony of material objects point to the emergence of new forms of public truth.

Thursday 19 June 2014
State Violence Under the Microscope
Panel: Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones, Dr Nadine El-Enany, Dr Chris Cocking, Harmit Athwal.
This panel interrogates the way in which the state evades accountability for its violence through its selective exclusion and validation of scientific evidence in deaths in custody and protest cases. Athwal discusses the use and misuse of scientific evidence in UK death in custody cases, while Bruce-Jones examines the process by which prosecutors and judges in Germany have used legal proclamations to pre-empt scientific evidentiary analysis. El-Enany and Cocking will ask what crowd psychology can contribute to our understanding of the behaviour of protesters at demonstrations and public order policing.

Friday 20 June 2014
The Power of Experts
Chair: Dr. Marinos Diamantides, Reader, School of Law, Birkbeck College Participants: Dr. Matjaž Ambrož, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana Dr. Amanda Dickins, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, Dept. for Business Innovation and Skills Dr. Mary Malecka, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers and Bond Solon Legal Training Company Prof. Renata Salecl, Professor of Psychology and Law, School of Law, Birkbeck College Experts are the new authorities in today’s society. Law and policy makers rely on their knowledge when difficult decisions are made. The panel will address the dilemmas like: What happens when experts openly admit that they do not know? What can be done when they knowingly give fraudulent testimony? How do policy makers choose which experts to call upon? How does judiciary system handle experts, how are they prepared for giving testimony and what kind of battles they might engage in when presented with different expertise? Who wins in the war of experts?

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