Maastricht Science in Court (MSiC) is an Interfaculty Research Collaborative that aims to improve the Evidence Base for Legal Decision Making.
Judges, lawyers and prosecutors in court often find it hard to get to the truth and come to the best possible ruling. In those cases, they may need some help from forensic experts or other scientists.
However, this often creates a new problem: specific expertise is required for matters such as DNA, fingerprints, medicine, anthropology, epidemiology or psychology. Coming from different scientific disciplines, these experts each have their own approach. They all speak a different language, one that may easily be misunderstood.
In fact, it has become clear in recent years that ‘speaking an understandable language’ in court is not easy. In some cases, misunderstandings of experts’ statements have even led to miscarriages of justice.
To help bridge the gap between the worlds of science and the courtroom, Maastricht University has brought together a number of experts from various fields. Called ‘Maastricht Science in court’, the initiative aims to tap their collective expertise to come to a better understanding between forensic scientists on the one hand and public prosecutors, judges and lawyers on the other. This will help move the field towards evidence-based legal decision-making.