Comparing Law as Science with Science in the Law: Preliminary Thoughts

Kirk W. Junker
University Professor of Law, University of Cologne, Faculty of Law, and Director of International Master of Environmental Science Programme, University of Cologne.

Law and Forensic Science, Volume 14 (2017/2).

Submitted: September 18, 2017.

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.


Abstract: Comparative law often compares institutions or sources of law from various countries. This article rather compares civil law and common law families, but does use Germany and the USA to represent the two families respectively. Rather than focus upon institutions or sources of law, this article compares how these two families understand their practices of law, specifically in reference to science. First the concept of comparison itself is examined through its western conceptions in the discipline of rhetoric. Then the relationship of law to science is discussed, comparing the legal standard of scientist as authority on science to judge as ultimate adjudicator on scientific matters. The author concludes that law requires an evaluative element in its practices if it is to effect justice and further concludes that the evaluative element is better conceived by philosophy than science. Lawyers are thus encouraged to seriously consider evaluative practices, but are invited to do so on their own, rather than treat philosophy as a body of knowledge only present through the philosopher as expert witness.

Keywords: comparativism, rhetoric, science, evidence, scientism, moral, evaluative

Read PDF

Wpływ szkolenia na skuteczność wykrywania kłamstwa (The Layman’s Ability to Detect Deception – Can it Be Improved by a Short Training?)

Jagoda Dzida
Wydział Prawa i Administracji Uniwersytetu im. A. Mickiewicza w Poznaniu

Law and Forensic Science, Volume 14 (2017/2).

Submitted: May 24, 2017.

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.


Abstract: The study was conducted to verify, whether it is possible to improve people’s ability to detect deception by a short training, and if so, to what extend it can be improved. The results are important due to the potential applicability of non-instrumental deception detection methods in the criminal procedure. The experiment was conducted on the group of students who were asked to decide, whether the persons, depicted on the video, are telling the truth or are lying. The procedure was repeated after a short training that gave the students more detailed information about the most reliable verbal and nonverbal cues to deception. The results revealed that a short training may improve lie detection by about 22%. The implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords: deception detection, lie, training

Read PDF

Significance of Physical Evidence in the Evaluation of a Prohibited Act under the Criminal Law

Marta Kowalczyk-Ludzia
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland

Law and Forensic Science, Volume 14 (2017/2).

Submitted: November 29, 2017.

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.


Abstract: This paper discusses issues associated with the evaluation of the usefulness of physical evidence found on the site of a crime for formulating the probable version of the course of the criminal event. For example, the very type of tool that the perpetrator uses usually indicates the intention to commit the act, making it possible to determine not only the scope of the harm caused, but also the motive for the prohibited act. The object and purpose of this paper is to answer the question about the role of physical evidence in the evaluation of a prohibited act under the criminal law. The deliberations are based on an analysis of the results of the author’s own research.

Keywords: physical evidence, murder weapon, intention to commit a prohibited act, motive, impulse

Read PDF