Juries and their Understanding of Forensic Science: Are Jurors Equipped?

By Michael Bromby.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reviews some of the possible pitfalls facing juries when expert, scientific evidence is presented in court, and also the pitfalls that may occur when such evidence is not led. Further consideration is given to jurors’ understanding of scientific terminology, the value of expert opinion and whether the Internet or other forms of media are being used or consulted inappropriately by jurors. The use of social communication media such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace is highlighted as members of society, including jurors, are increasingly open to sharing their thoughts and daily activities.
A UK Ministry of Justice report indicates that jurors’ understanding of legal terminology is variable, and that jurors do use the Internet to look for information about their case. This paper considers whether science in legal proceedings can drive jurors to look for guidance on scientific terminology outwith the courtroom, and whether jurors are indeed putting information on the internet regarding their own case or the deliberations that take place.

Keywords: Law, Juries, Social Media

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.247-256. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 518.169KB).

Michael Bromby

Reader in Law, Department of Law, School of Law and Social Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

My main interests are forensic evidence and eyewitness identifications, facial recognition and computer technologies. I also have an interest in legal education and how new technologies (web 2.0 etc) can be used by students, legal professionals and jurors.