Statistical evidence in the administration of criminal justice

The researchers are seeking to promote practical understanding of probabilistic reasoning and statistical evidence in the administration of criminal justice. This research project will deliver four annual reports addressing different aspects of the topic compiled by the Royal Statistical Society’s Statistics and the Law Working Group, with the aid of its international advisory group and after consultation with user groups.

The reports will be accessible to readers of all levels of statistical understanding and will feature the following four topics: 

  • Basic ideas and concepts of probability (including forensic (mis)applications, such as the notorious ‘prosecutor’s fallacy’)
  • DNA profiling evidence
  • Networks for structuring of evidence
  • Case assessment and interpretation. 

The reports will be targeted at members of the UK judiciary, legal practitioners and forensic scientists and expert witnesses currently practising within the UK’s legal jurisdictions, with the potential for broader dissemination to criminal justice professionals and forensic scientists (and their professional organisations) world-wide.

Project details



Professor Colin Aitken, University of Edinburgh

Professor Paul Roberts, University of Nottingham

Funding programme

Open Door

Grant amount and duration


October 2009 - January 2013



Guide 1. Fundamentals of probability and statistical evidence in criminal proceedings (2010). Full PDF

Guide 2. Assessing the probative value of DNA evidence (2011). Full PDF