19 October – Meeting in Manchester

On Wednesday 19 October there will be a joint meeting of the RSS Statistics and the Law Section and the RSS Medical Section at the University of Manchester.

Date and time: 13.30 to 17.00, 19 October

Location: Blackett Lecture Theatre, Schuster Building, Brunswick Street, University of Manchester


A lot of research into causes of deaths for different population and patient groups use data that were not collected for such a purpose. There are particular caveats to how causes are coded within hospital and death certificate registration data that need to be acknowledged, in order to correctly interpret such analyses. The RSS Medical and Stats & the Law Sections have organised an afternoon of talks on these caveats and challenges. Confirmed speakers and talks are:

Mr. Michael Singleton (Senior Coroner for Blackburn, Hyndburn & Ribble Valley and lead coroner for the UK Disaster Victim Identification Cadre of Advisory Coroners):
“A coroner’s perspective on the conclusion of suicide.”

Dr. Peter Sidebotham (Associate Clinical Professor and Reader in Child Health):
“One to two children per week? Challenges in interpreting data on deaths from child abuse and neglect”

Prof. Tim Millar (Senior Research Fellow, National Drug Evidence Centre):
Title of talk to follow.

Dr Ben Windsor-Shellard (Mortality Analysis group, Office for National Statistics)*:
“Death certification and mortality statistics”

*Note that Ben will be speaking in place of Claudia Wells.

This meeting is free to attend, but please register at the following link:




2016 Joint Statistical Meetings – Chicago

On Wednesday 3 August, the Section held a session titled “Do courts appreciate the power of statistical evidence?” at the JSM in Chicago. The session was chaired by Joseph Gastwirth and featured the following speakers:

Jane Hutton, University of Warwick: Expert evidence for civil cases – Examples and ethical challenges Slides
Edward Cheng, Vanderbilt University and Columbia University: Detecting and correcting publication bias in legal cases
Claire McIvor, University of Birmingham: The misuse of statistical evidence in tort law Slides
Qing Pan, George Washington University: Statistical issues arising in important recent cases in the United States Slides

Slides from the talks can be downloaded using the links above.
Thanks to all the speakers for an excellent session.

WORKSHOP: Statistical Modelling of Scientific Evidence, Newton Inst Cambridge Nov 7-10

Programme on Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science (July-Dec 2016)
Isaac Newton Institute, University of Cambridge
Programme organisers:

Leila Schneps – Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu
David Balding – University of Melbourne, University College London
Norman Fenton – Queen Mary, University of London
Richard Gill – Universiteit Leiden
David Lagnado – University College London

Registration is open (https://www.newton.ac.uk/event/fosw03) for the 3rd and final workshop in the programme from November 7 to 10.  This workshop covers statistical modelling of different kinds of scientific evidence used in the legal system (DNA evidence will be prominent, but other evidence types will also be modelled and discussed).
  • Opening lecture by Prof Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition and also of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
  • Closing lecture by Professor Bernard Silverman, Chief Scientific Advisor, Home Office, UK.
  • Registration fee: £202 (students £162) includes admission to all seminars, lunches and refreshments on the days that lectures take place (Monday – Friday), wine reception and formal dinner, but does not include other meals or accommodation.
  • Day attendance may also be possible if space available – don’t register but contact me.
  • Formal deadline is August 2 but later applications may be accepted depending on availability.
  • Relevant abstracts welcome, there are vacant slots for contributed oral presentations and for posters.

Invited Speakers

  • Mikkel Andersen (Denmark)
  • Amke Caliebe (Germany)
  • James Curran (New Zealand)
  • Peter Gill (Norway/UK)
  • Therese Graversen (Denmark)
  • Ate Kloosterman (Netherlands)
  • Amanda Hepler (USA)
  • Keith Inman (USA)
  • David Lucy (UK)
  • Ronald Meester (Netherlands)
  • Geoff Morrison (Canada)
  • Cedric Neumann (USA)
  • Sue Pope (UK)
  • Roberto Puch-Solis (UK)
  • Daniel Ramos (Spain)
  • Norah Rudin (USA)
  • Charles Sauleau (France)
  • Marjan Sjerps (Netherlands)
  • Klaas Slooten (Netherlands)
  • William Thompson (USA)
  • Torben Tvedebrink (Denmark)
  • Gabriel Vivo-Truyols (Netherlands)
  • Sandy Zabell (USA)

Meeting – the role of databases in forensic science

On Tuesday 15 March, a Section meeting on the role of databases in forensic science was held at the Royal Statistical Society headquarters on Errol Street, London. We had three very interesting talks:

  • Professor Graham Jackson (Visiting Professor of Forensic Science at Abertay University and Consultant Forensic Scientist at Advance Forensic Science) and Mr Adam Baines (Forensic Specialist, Lancashire Constabulary) spoke on  “The use of databases in footwear mark cases”. The slides can be downloaded here: GrahamJacksonAdamBainesSlides,
  • Dr Tina Lovelock (Interpretation Lead, Cellmark Forensic Services) spoke on “Non-DNA databases and collections in forensic science”, and
  • Dr Ian Evett, CBE (Forensic Statistician, Principal Forensic Services) spoke on  “The logical foundations of forensic science: future challenges”. The slides for this talk can be downloaded here: IanEvettSlides. Dr Evett’s paper on this topic (which is in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B on the paradigm shift for forensic science) can be found here: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1674/20140263.

To sign up for notifications of future meetings, you can sign up to the Section mailing list via the “Mailing list” tab.

Event – Women and the Criminal Justice System – past, present and future

The Centre for Criminology and School of Law at the University of Essex are hosting a one-day event with the Royal Statistical Society which may be of interest.  The event, entitled Women and the Criminal Justice System – past, present and future, brings together academics and professionals to consider women’s journeys through the criminal justice system as victims and offenders, using a range of statistical and qualitative evidence.


Title: Women and the Criminal Justice System – past, present and future

Date: 15 April 2016

Venue: Royal Statistical Society, London,

Blurb: Join us in London for our one-day conference to discuss women as victims and as perpetrators of crime.

Throughout the day, academic researchers and professional practitioners will describe and analyse the journeys women take as they engage with the criminal justice system – from the point of being at risk of becoming a victim or offender, through experiences of trial, diversion and being inside and outside of prison – using a range of statistical and qualitative evidence.

This conference brings together the latest academic and policy analysis to key issues concerning women and the criminal justice system, aiming to inform practice, stimulate academic-professional partnerships and provide an opportunity for networking.

This conference is organised by the Centre for Criminology and the School of Law at the University of Essex with the Royal Statistical Society, co-sponsored by ESRC and Palgrave MacMillan.

Tickets are free and all are welcome.  Lunch will be provided with a wine reception to close proceedings.

For further information see our website: http://www.essex.ac.uk/events/event.aspx?e_id=9439

Meeting – the role of databases in forensic science

Date: Tuesday March 15th, 2016

Time: 2.00 – 4.30 p.m

Location: Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol Street, London EC1Y 8LX (www.rss.org.uk)

Statistics and Law Section – the role of databases in forensic science

2.00 – 2.10 Introduction

Professor Graham Jackson
(Visiting Professor of Forensic Science at Abertay University and Consultant Forensic Scientist at Advance Forensic Science)
Mr Adam Baines (Forensic Specialist, Lancashire Constabulary)

The use of databases in footwear mark cases

Dr Tina Lovelock
(Interpretation Lead, Cellmark Forensic Services)

Non-DNA databases and collections in forensic science

Dr Ian Evett, CBE
(Forensic Statistician, Principal Forensic Services)

Database issues in relation to DNA evidence

4.10 Discussion

4.30 Close of meeting.

The meeting is free to attend but registration is required.  Please register by sending an e-mail with your name and affiliation and mentioning the date and title of the meeting to events@rss.org.uk.

All interested non-members of the Royal Statistical Society are welcome.  Refreshments will be available before the meeting.

Any enquiries to roberto.puch-solis@lgcgroup.com

Royal Society – special issue of Philosophical Transactions B

Royal Society Publishing has recently published a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B entitled “The paradigm shift for forensic science”, organized and edited by Niamh Nic Daeid and Sue Black. This special issue is free to access until 30 November (along with ALL Royal Society content) at


The articles can also be accessed directly at


A print version is also available at the special price of £35.00. You can order online via the above web page (enter special code TB 1674 when prompted) or, alternatively, you can contact debbie.vaughan@royalsociety.org.