Essentials of forensic interpretation – New Distance Learning courses from University of Lausanne


23/10/2015

Essentials of forensic interpretation

March to September 2016

Target audience

Practitioners of all forensic disciplines – including reporting officers, lawyers, accreditation bodies – having a University degree (at least BSc) or an equivalent degree of a higher education programme. The course is given in English. For exercises, discussions and one-to-one tutorials, English, German or French are available as further languages.

Introduction

Given by recognized specialists in the field, this online course covers the essentials of forensic interpretation applied to the solution of inferential problems in forensic science and in the administration of justice. It is designed to make practitioners at ease with a probabilistic approach to the evaluation and interpretation of forensic findings. The content focuses on the so-called likelihood ratio, a measure that is supported by the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and the UK’s Association of Forensic Science Providers due to its qualities such as coherency and transparency. The course is based on research that has been described as providing the essential building blocks for the proper assessment, understanding and communication of findings in the NAS report “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward”.

 

The course lasts 6 months with a workload per week of 3 hours on the online platform and 1.5 to 2 hours of personal work (in total around 150 hours training).

The course team also offers further online short courses for practitioners who wish to specialize in DNA interpretation, or Bayesian networks.

In addition to these short courses, a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Statistics and the Evaluation of Forensic Evidence is proposed to forensic practitioners willing to acquire a comprehensive training (around 470 hours, 18 months in total).

Objectives

  • Provide practitioners with a theoretical and practical background in probabilistic and statistical reasoning without leaving their desk (online course).
  • Be able to apply the likelihood ratio approach when data are scarce.
  • Help practitioners explain their reasoning in Court and feel at ease with expert debate and the published literature on interpretation.
  • Have specialized and up-to-date knowledge in the field of forensic interpretation and evaluation of forensic results.
  • Acquire a good knowledge of probabilistic reasoning and elements of Bayesian networks in forensic science.
  • Understand the principles of interpretation and the use of propositions at different levels (hierarchy of propositions).
  • Acquire skills in written communication of uncertainty.
  • Identify the importance of pre-assessment.

Topics

  • Uncertainty in forensic science
  • Nature of probability
  • First reflections on forensic interpretation of scientific findings (concepts of uniqueness and individualisation)
  • Evaluation of forensic findings with a logical approach
  • Communication of results, relevant populations and pitfalls of intuition
  • Introduction to a choice of specialized topic (fingermarks, Bayesian networks, transfer material such as fibers, glass, GSR etc.).

Instructors

  • Professor Christophe Champod
  • Professor Franco Taroni
  • Dr Alex Biedermann
  • Dr Tacha Hicks

The instructors have theoretical and practical experience with evaluation and interpretation from laboratory to courtroom. They have published over the years numerous scholarly papers and textbooks on the subjects of evaluation and statistics in forensic science.

Consultants:

  • Prof. Colin Aitken, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Dr Ian Evett, United Kingdom

Organisation

Faculty of Law, Criminal Justice and Public Administration, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Certification

Certificate of attendance, 5 ECTS

Course venue

Online course

Registration

Send your CV and a duly filled in registration form to Formation Continue UNIL-EPFL.

Course fee: 3’500.- Swiss Francs

Registration deadline:  February 15th, 2016

Contacts

For academic questions: sefe@unil.ch

For administrative questions:

Ms. Mary-Claire André Mollet

mary-claire.andremollet@unil.ch

– See more at: http://www.formation-continue-unil-epfl.ch/essentials-forensic-interpretation#sthash.ZaLQ3lRp.dpuf

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