Dalhousie Law Journal


scientific evidence, litigation, science, law, admissibility, Goudge Inquiry Report


Increasing reliance on scientific evidence in litigation has created a demand for discussions directed at enabling a legitimate interaction between science and law The article develops the notion ofprocedural legitimacy-that adherence to legal procedure maintains the legitimacy of the adjudicative system and its outcomes -and applies it to determining how best to admit and use scientific evidence. The problem of undervaluing procedural legitimacy is illustrated through a commentary on contributions to the science and law discussion of Edmond and Roach, and Haack. The author's thesis is that maintaining adjudicative legitimacy depends on procedural rules being applied as vigilantly to science as to any other evidence. Accordingly, admissibility rules must be properly applied to scientific evidence and, once admitted, the evidence must be scrutinized and weighed against the legal standard of proof. The recommendations for treatment of scientific evidence in the Goudge Inquiry Report are endorsed based on their consistency with the demands ofprocedural legitimacy.