How can courts take into account the uncertainty in a likelihood ratio?

Duncan Taylor, David Balding

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    As legal practitioners and courts become more aware of scientific methods and evidence evaluation, they are demanding measures of the reliability of expert opinion. In particular, there are calls for error rates to accompany opinion evidence in comparative forensic sciences. While error rates or confidence intervals can be useful for those disciplines that claim to identify the source of a trace, the call for these statistical tools has extended to sciences that present opinions in the form of a likelihood ratio. In this article we argue against presenting both a likelihood ratio and numerical measures of its uncertainty. We explain how the LR already encapsulates uncertainty. Instead we consider how sensitivity analyses can be used to guide the presentation of LRs that are informative to the court and not unfair to defendants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number102361
    Number of pages6
    JournalForensic Science International: Genetics
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


    • Error rates
    • Evidence evaluation
    • Likelihood ratio
    • Uncertainty


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