Select Committee on Science and Technology

No.10 of Session 2005-06 10 November 2005



The Science and Technology Committee is holding a follow-up evidence session on forensic science.

The Committee's Report "Forensic Science on Trial", published in March of this year, explored a wide range of issues, including the Government's proposal to develop the Forensic Science Service as a Public Private Partnership and the use of forensic evidence in court.

The Report drew attention to various flaws in the legal system, particularly in the handling of expert evidence, and made a number of recommendations aimed at preventing future miscarriages of justice. The Committee called for a review of the way that statistical evidence is presented in court; jury research to provide an insight into how juries handle scientific evidence; and an agreed test to validate scientific evidence before it is presented in court.

The Chairman of the Committee has expressed disappointment that the Government's Response to the Report failed to engage properly with the Committee's recommendations. The Committee will therefore be following up these issues in an evidence session to be held with:

Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith, QC, Attorney General
Rt Hon Harriet Harman, QC, MP, Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, and
Andy Burnham MP, Parliamentary Under
- Secretary of State, Home Office

The evidence session will be held on 23 November 2005 at 9.30am in Committee Room 8.

For further information please call Ana Ferreira, on 020 7219 2793. Previous press notices and publications are available on our website.

Notes for those wishing to attend a public meeting of the Committee

Members of the public wishing to attend should present themselves at St Stephen's Entrance, where they will be directed through security and to the appropriate Committee Room.  It is advisable to allow about 15 minutes for this. It is possible for the Committee Room designated for the hearing to change at short notice, but such room changes will be clearly  indicated.  Please ensure that mobile phones and pagers are turned off before entering the Committee Room.  Under no circumstances should members of the public address the Committee while in session.  It is not possible for seats to be reserved in the Committee Room but every effort is made to ensure sufficient seating.  Standing in Committee Rooms is permitted at the discretion of the Chairman.  Those attending meetings are asked to remain silent throughout.

Notes to editors:

Under the terms of Standing Order No. 152 the Science and Technology Committee is empowered to examine the "expenditure, policy and administration of the Office of Science and Technology and its associated public bodies". The Committee was appointed on 19 July 2005.

The Committee's Seventh Report of Session 2004-05 was published as House of Commons paper number 96-I, Session 2004-05.

The Government's response was published as the Committee's First Special Report, Session 2005-6, House of Commons paper number 427.

Membership of the Committee

Mr Phil Willis (Lib Dem, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
Adam Afriyie (Con, Windsor)
Mr Robert Flello (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent South)
Dr Ian Gibson (Lab, Norwich North)
Dr Evan Harris (Lib Dem, Oxford West & Abingdon)
Dr Brian Iddon (Lab, Bolton South East)
Margaret Moran (Lab, Luton South)
Mr Brooks Newmark (Con, Braintree)
Anne Snelgrove (Lab/Co-op, South Swindon)
Bob Spink (Con, Castle Point)
Dr Desmond Turner (Lab, Brighton Kemptown)