Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


UC lecture to ask what if judges could understand experts?

Lecture at UC to ask what if judges could understand forensic experts?

March 24, 2013

In courtrooms judges have to make decisions based on the available evidence. This evidence is nowadays often very technical and statistical and difficult to understand, which can frustrate judges.

Forensic experts who write their reports try to be as exact as possible and they on their part are frustrated when the judges seem to misunderstand them.

A visiting expert from the University of Amsterdam, Professor Joep Sonnemans, will give the 2013 New Zealand Experimental Economics Laboratory distinguished lecture at the University of Canterbury (UC) campus on Wednesday night which will consider the question: What if judges could understand forensic experts?

``Judges make errors, but these errors are not easily observed. After an acquittal the case is closed so it is difficult to find out at a later date if the suspect was the perpetrator after all. Only rarely is a convicted suspect found to be innocent. This lack of feedback means a judge can make the same errors during their career without ever knowing.

``In a laboratory experiment, we can create an environment in which such decisions can be compared with the correct decision. In this way, we can find out what kind of errors are most likely and what we can do about it.

``What kind of mistakes do judges make? Will judges and forensic experts ever understand each other? What can we do to improve the decisions of judges? How can economics experiments help?

``In criminal cases the task of the judge is foremost to transform the uncertainty about the facts into the certainty of the verdict. Forensic research has become increasingly technical and forensic reports typically report conditional probabilities.

``An important part of the job of judges is hypothesis testing (guilty or not guilty) but they have never received any formal training in this in contrast to students in other academic disciplines.’’

In Professor Sonnemans’ country the government has plans reduce costs by decreasing the number of cases in which a team of judges, instead of one judge, presides.

``We find that having more than one judge reduces error effectively. This does not mean that it is necessary to deliberate about all cases. In simple cases many errors can be avoided by mechanical aggregation of independent opinions, and deliberation has no added value.

``Discussion leads to less error in difficult cases. Although we provide no feedback about the quality of verdicts, it improves individual decisions in subsequent cases,’’ Professor Sonnemans said. For details about the lecture: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/wiw/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Christchurch: Fixing Town Hall Means Performing Arts Precinct Rethink

Christchurch City Council’s decision to spend $127.5 million fixing the Town Hall means not all the land currently designated for the city’s Performing Arts Precinct is required, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

With Hunters & Collectors: The Rolling Stones Announce New Auckland Date

It’s the news New Zealand has been waiting for. The Rolling Stones today confirmed the rescheduled dates and venues for both the Australian and New Zealand legs of their highly anticipated ’14 On Fire’ tour. Now, Frontier Touring is also delighted ... More>>

ALSO:

Flying Things: Conchords, Pretties Help BATS Fly Home

The launch of BATS theatre’s fundraising campaign has taken off – with a bit of help from their friends. And with friends like theirs… An event last night hosted by Te Radar at Wellington’s latest waterfront venue, Shed 6, featured Fly My Pretties and, in a dream-come-true scenario, Flight of the Conchords. More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Zoo’s Own Wētā Workshop Produces Rare Giants For Release

Following unprecedented breeding and rearing success, Auckland Zoo is today releasing 150 of New Zealand’s largest giant wētā, the wētā punga, onto pest-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf. A further 150 will be released onto Tiritiri Matangi next month. More>>

Girls On Film: Divergent Hits The Big Screen

n January, Catching Fire (the second film in the Hunger Games series) not only became the biggest US box office success of 2013 : it also became the first film starring a female actor (ie. Jennifer Lawrence) to top the annual domestic earnings chart since The Exorcist, 40 years ago. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: No Travel Sanctions For Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

On the same day that New Zealand announced travel sanctions against selected Russians, a Russian billionaire’s superyacht berthed in Wellington Harbour. More>>

ALSO:

Mental Health: UC Researchers Believe Robots Can Persuade People To Conform

A team of University of Canterbury (UC) researchers and scientists believe robots can persuade people to conform through group pressure... ``Our results showed that robots can induce conformity but to a significantly lesser degree than humans." More>>

NZ On Air: Local Content Holds Steady At 32% Of Television Schedules

Since 1989 NZ On Air has measured local free-to-air television content. The report compares the schedules of the six national free-to-air channels, to observe trends and changes in the local content landscape. More>>

Arts Fest: 2014 New Zealand Festival A Spectacular Celebration

The New Zealand Festival welcomed the world to Wellington over 24 days (21 Feb – 16 Mar) of arts events across the city. “[current figures show] slight increase on the 110,000 tickets issued in 2012. It’s a great result.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news