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This is a session of Topic 8: Other determinants & developments in Statistics education             Full topic list

(Monday 3rd, 14:00-15:30)

Statistics and the law



Relations between statistics and law need to address statisticians as academics, teachers and professionals. As academics, we can contribution to methods for identifying civil and criminal offenses, and assessing evidence. Professional statisticians can act as expert witnesses. Solicitors, advocates and judges need to learn certain basics of probability and statistics in order to function.

The aim of various statistical societies is to increase the public understanding, and appropriate use of statistics. This pedagogical role explains the relevance of statistics and the law in a conference on teaching.

The role of statisticians as expert witnesses is not always recognized. Phil Dawid, University College, London, will explore the differences between statisticians and lawyers concepts of evidence and of the expert. Phil has provided MSC level courses for lawyers, and will discuss the challenges of this audience.

Fingerprints, DNA and other biometric evidence relies on appropriate matching and sampling. The particular challenges of correct data collection and analysis will be considered. Another interesting area is medicine, where physicians and epidemiologists might claim statistical expertise, and where negligence might be defined with reference to “Evidence-Based Medicine”. Financial and insurance claims require assessment of risks of events which are usually rare.

There will be plenty of ideas to stimulate debate in this session. Changes in human rights legislation has altered the methods which police forces may use to investigate suspects. This, with the rapid increase in electronic data, provides new opportunities for anticipating crime and increasing conviction rates.


PaperTitlePresenter(s) / Author(s)
8B1A direct method of statistics teaching in labour, social, juridical or economic studiesMaria Dolores Huete-Morales (Spain)
Esteban Navarrete-Álvarez
María Jesús Rosales-Moreno
Maravillas Vargas-Jiménez
Francisco Abad-Montes
8B2Statistics in court: the ultimate communication challengeJanet Chaseling (Australia)
8B3Data collection and analysis in Forensic ScienceDavid Lucy (Scotland)