About this event

  • Date and time Sat 18 Jan 2020 from 9:30am to 4:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine, British Academy of Forensic Sciences

At this exciting meeting, the Royal Society of Medicine and the British Academy of Forensic Sciences will bring together a top faculty of prominent speakers to look at the source of partiality in different forensic disciplines, addressing bias in the individual and in the criminal justice system.

Speakers include best-selling author of "Unnatural causes", Dr Richard Shepherd, Sir Charles Declan Morgan PC QC, Jo Millington, Professor Nigel Eastman, and more. Scroll down for more information about the programme and faculty.

Sources and Expression of Expert Witness Bias

The expert witness practice of forensic doctors and scientists is under increasing scrutiny, by both the courts and professional bodies.

Appraisal of expert witness practice must address not only technical competence, including demonstrating evidence of a real understanding of the interface between medicine or science and law, but also ethical probity. And the avoidance of bias represents the greatest technical and ethical challenge.

Bias can arise from sources ‘within’ the expert, including via ‘cognitive bias and heuristics’, or as an inherent reflection of the adversarial legal system itself; and can be expressed throughout the method of assessment, report drafting and giving of oral evidence.

The conference will define and address bias across a range of forensic medicine and science disciplines, presented by a range of distinguished practitioners; in order to identify sources and routes to expression that are both ‘generic’ to all expert witness practice and specific to particular medical and scientific disciplines. And the programme will end with a senior judicial commentary on bias in expert evidence, as well as on judicial bias, as viewed from the bench.

Key speakers

Professor Nigel Eastman

Emeritus Professor of Law and Ethics in Psychiatry at St George's University of London

Sir Charles Declan Morgan PC QC

Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland

Dr Richard Shepherd

Forensic Pathologist and best-selling author of "Unnatural causes"

Jo Millington

Forensic Scientist and Director, Millington Hingley Ltd.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Definition, sources and expression of bias in expert witness practice in the criminal courts, with some examples from forensic psychiatry

Professor Nigel Eastman, Emeritus Professor of Law and Ethics in Psychiatry, St George's University of London

Bias in forensic interpretation (e.g. evidence of activity from evidence of contact only frequently used to “mislead” the jury)

Jo Millington,Forensic Scientist and Director, Millington Hingley Ltd.

Tea and coffee break
DNA and statistical interpretation, systemic bias in private forensic provision

Professor Denise Syndercombe-Court

Panel discussion
Title TBC

Dr Richard Shepherd, Forensic Pathologist

Paediatric expertise, medical professionals over-interpreting injuries and strategies to overcome

Dr Linda Teebay, Paediatrician and  Consultant Forensic & Legal Medicine

Tea and coffee break
Expert witness bias and judicial bias, viewed from the judicial bench

Sir Charles Declan Morgan PC QC, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland

Panel discussion
Close of meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom