Science or Advocacy? Expert Challenges and Peer Review

Law360: Science or Advocacy? Expert Challenges and Peer Review

Litigation and expert testimony often go hand-in-hand. This trend will grow given society’s increasing reliance on technology and science. Yet, courtrooms across the country seem to be falling further behind in comprehending and digesting expert opinions (think about the FBI’s hair analysis and identification boondoggle). This gap is growing despite the mandates of Daubert and Frye, which provide that courts should be actively assessing expert opinions. But in the academic domain, psychologists don’t review the validity of medical causation. Why do we ask courts to perform these analyses in fields from acoustics to zoology? It stands to reason that our courts need help. We propose that litigators now have the chance to help courts, and in the process, serve their clients better. Litigators need a system to provide judges with unbiased and neutral science. In research, this system already exists: it is called peer review.

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