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From medical facts to legal evidence

Forensic facts do not establish themselves, they are constructed and interpreted by forensic and medical experts, and then translated – from one field of expertise to another, to make sense in a legal setting. This project will investigate how medical and forensic experts translate findings from sexual assaults for legal processing purposes.

From medical facts to legal evidence is part of Evidently Rape, a convergence environment funded by UiO:Lifescience. Through three interrelated work packages building on a combination of intakes (literature, document analysis, interviews and observation), From medical facts to legal evidence addresses how medical facts and forensic evidence are written and spoken for in pre-trial stages of the criminal justice process in rape and sexual assault cases in Norway.

The project is designed to study empirically the establishment of forensic facts and the translation work that medical and forensic experts invest in to transfer the scientific meaning and quality of facts to a legal context and audience. Whereas scholars have raised concern that we are witnessing a “natural science-ification” of the court system through forensic and medical experts’ role in the court, this project also reverses this assertion and ask if the legal expectations likewise juridify medical ways of thinking in the criminal justice process. By addressing the sociology of knowledge pertaining to forensic evidence in the criminal justice system From medical facts to legal evidence aims to help the translation of evidence/knowledge from the medical to the legal knowledge tradition.

By Anette Bringedal Houge
Published Nov. 18, 2020 11:02 AM - Last modified Nov. 18, 2020 11:27 AM