The Reliability of Expert Evidence in Canada

Safeguarding Against Wrongful Convictions


  • Samantha Savage University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (Common Law)



Expert Evidence, Wrongful Convictions, Reliability, Forensic Science, Goudge Inquiry


This paper analyzes Canada’s common law as it stands on expert evidence and key Canadian inquiries and reports on expert evidence, wrongful convictions, and forensic science. The analysis aims to demonstrate that Canada’s laws, inquiries, and reports have not gone far enough to ensure that expert evidence is reliable in order to protect innocent citizens against wrongful convictions. I propose that to safeguard against the admission of improper expert evidence in trials, Canada should (1) heighten the standard expert evidence must meet to be considered reliable (2) foster a system of peer-reviewed research, training, accreditation, and accountability in forensic science disciplines, and (3) ensure that all legal actors receive training, education, and free access to information in forensic sciences and forensic science limitations. This paper argues that continued education in forensic sciences for legal actors, systemic changes in forensic science disciplines, and changes in the law of reliability of evidence are necessary to prevent improper expert evidence from contributing to wrongful convictions in Canada.




2022-07-20 — Updated on 2023-02-26


How to Cite

Savage, S. (2023). The Reliability of Expert Evidence in Canada: Safeguarding Against Wrongful Convictions. The Wrongful Conviction Law Review, 3(1), 82–93. (Original work published July 20, 2022)



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