Westminster Legal Policy Forum

Evidence and prosecutions - forensic science, witness statements and the processing of digital evidence

Morning, Thursday, 19th March 2020

Central London


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 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.

The seminar is timed to consider developments including:

  • Statistics from the Crown Prosecution Service showing that prosecutions of rape cases are at their lowest levels in over a decade, amid wider concerns over conviction rates;
  • CPS changes to the guidance aimed at increasing protection of vulnerable witness;
  • Concerns over the market in forensic science, 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

  • Increasing public confidence in the CPS and understanding of the courts system;
  • Improving the use of witness statements - current shortfalls and priorities for change;
  • The changing use of evidence in criminal cases - cross-examination, written statements, and improving crime-solving rates;
  • The use of technology in evidence gathering and disclosure;
  • Forensic science and criminal justice - standards, statutory powers, and investment in R&D; and
  • The increasing use of digital evidence - disclosure, innovation, and the secure processing of personal information.

Keynote Speaker

Max Hill QC

Director, Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service

Keynote Speakers

Dr Gillian Tully

Forensic Science Regulator

Max Hill QC

Director, Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service


Jodie Blackstock

Legal Director, JUSTICE

Professor Peter Sommer

Professor of Digital Forensics, Birmingham City University