Westminster Legal Policy Forum

Evidence gathering and prosecution rates in the criminal justice system - priorities for the Royal Commission, forensic science, witness statements and the processing of digital evidence

Morning, Thursday, 19th March 2020

Central London

THIS EVENT IS CPD CERTIFIED


This conference will be a timely opportunity to consider the treatment and effective use of evidence in the criminal justice system - including the delivery of forensic science services and the challenges arising from the growth of digital forms of evidence.


The seminar will be an opportunity to discuss priorities for the Royal Commission on the criminal justice system recently announced by the Government with the aim of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the system - and which is likely to include examining prosecution models in other jurisdictions such as Scotland where prosecutors have powers to direct police investigations into serious crimes.


The seminar is also timed to consider other key issues for forensic evidence and prosecutions:

  • Concerns over conviction rates - with statistics from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) showing that prosecutions of rape cases are at their lowest levels in over a decade;
  • Increasing protection of vulnerable witnesses - in light of CPS changes to guidance;
  • Provision of forensic science services - with a government commitment to giving the Forensic Science Regulator statutory powers and the creation of a Forensic Science Board; and
  • Pressure on law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and services - that are being linked to funding, as well as an increasing volume of digital evidence.

The agenda includes keynote addresses from:

  • Max Hill QC, Director, Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service;
  • Dr Gillian Tully, Forensic Science Regulator; and
  • Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave, Lead for Criminal Justice, National Police Chief's Council.

Further confirmed speakers include: Jodie Blackstock, Legal Director, JUSTICE; James Clery, Senior Forensic Scientist, Clery Forensic Research and Consulting; Jimmy Cockerton, UK Police Lead, Microsoft; Dr Jo Easton, Deputy Chief Executive and Director, Policy and Research, Magistrates Association and Professor Peter Sommer, Professor of Digital Forensics, Birmingham City University.


The agenda

  • Public confidence in the CPS and understanding of the courts system - how it can be increased;
  • Priorities for the Royal Commission on the criminal justice system;
  • Use of evidence in criminal cases - changes to cross-examination, written statements, and improving crime-solving rates;
  • Technology in evidence gathering and disclosure - its use and impact;
  • Forensic science and criminal justice - standards, statutory powers, and investment in R&D; and
  • Digital evidence - disclosure, new developments, the secure processing of personal information, and how its increased use is affecting the criminal justice system.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

This Westminster Legal Policy Forum conference has attracted particularly strong interest from policymakers. It will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: Attorney General’s Office; Crown Prosecution Service; DfT; Government Legal Department; HMCTS; Home Office; JUSTICE; MoJ; NCA and the Royal Military Police.



Keynote Speaker

Max Hill QC

Director, Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service

Keynote Speakers

Dr Gillian Tully

Forensic Science Regulator

Chief Constable Nick Ephgrave

Lead for Criminal Justice, National Police Chief's Council and Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service

Max Hill QC

Director, Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service

Speakers

Jodie Blackstock

Legal Director, JUSTICE

Professor Peter Sommer

Professor of Digital Forensics, Birmingham City University

Dr Jo Easton

Deputy Chief Executive and Director, Policy and Research, Magistrates Association

James Clery

Senior Forensic Scientist, Clery Forensic Research and Consulting

Jimmy Cockerton

UK Police Lead, Microsoft