Moving Beyond Law: Interdisciplinarity and the Study of Evidence


in Evidence, Inference and Enquiry

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264843
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754050 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Moving Beyond Law: Interdisciplinarity and the Study of Evidence

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This chapter examines critically both the idea of ‘a multidisciplinary field’ or ‘an integrated science’ of evidence, and scepticism about and resistance to this idea from the standpoint of a jurist who has been involved with interdisciplinary work on evidence in law for many years. The chapter is organized as follows. Part I presents an overview of the intellectual history of the academic study of evidence in law in the Anglo‐American tradition and shows how important aspects of the field came to be recognised as inherently multidisciplinary. Part II identifies some limitations of legal perspectives on evidence, especially when the focus is on contested trials. It recounts the story of attempts to move beyond law in the direction of constructing a general field of evidence that formed part of the background of the UCL programme. Part III examines some of the reasons for suspicion of and resistance to the idea of ‘an integrated science of evidence’. Part IV restates the case for recognition and institutionalisation of evidence as a special focus of attention at the present time and puts forward a personal agenda of general questions that still need to be tackled.

Keywords: multidisciplinary field; law; contested trials; science of evidence; evidence

Chapter.  20421 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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