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

TO BE PUBLISHED March 2020


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 also provide an opportunity to discuss future 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 - 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 conference 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;
  • Alison Di Rollo QC, The Solicitor General for Scotland;
  • 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, JUSTICE; James Clery, Clery Forensic Research and Consulting; Jimmy Cockerton, Microsoft; Dr Jo Easton, Magistrates Association; Professor Peter Sommer, Birmingham City University and Joe Stone QC, Doughty Street Chambers.


Rt Hon Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru Spokesperson (Justice) has kindly agreed to chair part of this seminar.


The agenda


  • New evidence: prosecuting crime in 2020;
  • The COPFS and Scotland’s prosecution model - how it works in practice;
  • 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: HMCTS; Ministry of Justice; Attorney General's Office; Crown Prosecution Service; National Crime Agency; Home Office; Department for Transport; Hertfordshire Constabulary; HM Revenue & Customs; National Audit Office; and the Royal Military Police.



Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


Shortly after every Westminster Legal Policy Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes

Presentations

Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval


Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda

Q&A

Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Articles

Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates