1 x 3-hour workshop weekly
4 x 2-hour project works per semester
1 Admission into BSCHFS-Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Forensic and Analytical Science)
2 103.5 units of topics
3 1 of FACH1701, FACH2702, FACH3701
4 Admission into BLAWLP-Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice
4a Admission into BLAWLPG-Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Graduate Entry)
4b Admission into BLAWLPR-Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice
4c Admission into BLAWLPRG-Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Graduate Entry)
4d Admission into BLAWLPRH-Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Honours)
4e Admission into BLAWLPRGH-Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice (Graduate Entry) (Honours)
4f Admission into BJS-Bachelor of Justice and Society
4g Admission into BJSCR-Bachelor of Justice and Society (Criminology)
4h Admission into BCRIM-Bachelor of Criminology
5 72 units of topics
Must Satisfy: ((1 and 2 and 3) or ((4 or 4a or 4b or 4c or 4d or 4e or 4f or 4g or 4h) and 5))
Enrolment not permitted
BIOL4731 has been successfully completed
Topic description

This topic will expose students to key areas of evidence evaluation. The topic will include:

  1. What is subjectivity and objectivity
  2. Databases and numerical values compared to degrees of belief
  3. Probabilities and odds
  4. The difference between frequencies, likelihoods and Bayes
  5. Fallacies and problems in using methods of evaluation
  6. Interaction with the legal system
  7. Presentation to the court
  8. Introduction of new evidence - Frye, Daubert and precedence
  9. Facts and opinions in the criminal justice system

This topic will build upon students' prior knowledge of Bayes' Theorem and will allow the students to consider integrated data, when comparing an allegation compared to a proposition put forward by the defence. The way in which these data are reported will be part of this topic.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Introduce students to methods of evaluation of diverse pieces of forensic evidence
  • Show how competing hypotheses can be considered using a likelihood ratio
  • Introduce the concept of prior odds to up-date uncertainty resulting in posterior odds
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Integrate evidence from a range of analyses
  2. Formulate hypotheses based on an allegation and an alternative proposition
  3. Test a number of hypotheses using reconstruction in the laboratory
  4. Present opinion evidence in both written and oral forms
  5. Integrate scientific evidence in a legal framework
  6. Explain the integration of evidence and the formulation and testing of hypotheses by the scientists in their role as expert witnesses
  7. Challenge the integration of evidence and the formulation and testing of hypotheses by the scientists in their role as expert witnesses
  8. Present opinion evidence in both written and oral forms
  9. Demonstrate skills associated with examining and cross-examining an expert witness

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.