Ethics and Professional Responsibility of Forensic Scientist

The National Code of Professional Responsibility for Forensic Science and Forensic Medicine Service Providers

The National Code of Professional Responsibility (“Code”) establishes a framework for facilitating scientific integrity and respect, as well as a research-based culture. Each forensic science and forensic medicine service provider must meet the following requirements to increase public confidence in the quality of forensic services:

1.Represent his/her education, training, experience, and areas of expertise accurately.

2. Indulge in professional training and development opportunities, proficiency testing, certification, and the presentation and publication of research findings.

3. Commit to lifelong learning in the forensic science disciplines and keep up with new discoveries, equipment, and techniques.

4. Encourage the validation and adoption of new technologies, while avoiding the misuse of validated methods and the use of non-valid methods in casework.

5. Prevent tampering, adulteration, loss, or unnecessary consumption of evidence.

6. Avoid taking part in any situation where there are personal, financial, employment – related, or other conflicts of interest.

7. Conduct thorough, fair, and unbiased analysis and examinations that result in independent, impartial, and objective opinions and conclusions.

8. Make and keep full, contemporaneous, clear, and accurate written records of all examinations and tests performed, as well as the key findings, in sufficient detail to allow meaningful review and assessment by an independent expert in the field.

9. Conclusions should be based on generally accepted procedures supported by adequate data, standards, and controls, rather than political pressure or other outside influence.

10. Do not make inferences that are outside of one’s field of expertise.

11. Prepare reports in clear language, clearly separating data from interpretations and opinions, and disclosing any known limitations that could lead to incorrect inferences or mislead the judge or jury.

12. Do not alter reports or other records, or withhold information from reports, in order to gain a strategic or tactical advantage in litigation.

13. Based on good scientific practises and validated methods, present accurate and complete data in reports, oral and written presentations, and testimony.

14. Unless prohibited by law, communicate honestly and completely with all parties (investigators, prosecutors, defence attorneys, and other expert witnesses) once a report is issued.

15. Adverse events, such as an unintended mistake or a breach of ethical, legal, or scientific standards, or questionable conduct, should be documented and reported to management or quality assurance personnel.

16. Ensure that any adverse event that affects a previously issued report or testimony is reported to all impacted scientific and legal parties through proper management channels.