Skip Navigation
Online Bookstore Book Supplements Newsletter Subscription For Academics For Bookshops For Authors About Us JournalsHolt Prize
The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences

The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences

Edited by Caitlin Pakosh


The clash of the scientific and legal cultures in the courtroom, though theoretically directed at finding the truth, is marked by tension. Forensic science — science applied to the legal context — advances rapidly and has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. In contrast, the law embraces finality in administering justice and struggles to change with evolving scientific knowledge. Improving the scientific literacy of the legal community, however, may help to mitigate this tension.

To that end, this guide provides criminal lawyers, defence and Crown alike, with a macroscopic view of multiple forensic science disciplines, specific to the Canadian legal system and written by Canadian experts. Facilitating further case-specific research, this guide seeks to reinvigorate dialogue and improve collaboration between the forensic and legal communities in Canada, and contribute to the effective functioning of a fair and reasonable criminal justice system.

Winner of the 2017 Walter Owen Book Prize


List of Illustrations  

1. The Need for Scientific Literacy in the Legal Community by Caitlin Pakosh
2. Forensic Experts in the Criminal Justice System by Caitlin Pakosh
3. Expert Evidence: Judge as Gatekeeper by Richard D Schneider
4. Presenting Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom by Vincenzo Rondinelli
5. Critically Examining the Forensic Sciences: Inquiries and Reports by Sarah Harland-Logan
6. Bloodstain Pattern Analysis by Patrick Laturnus
7. Digital Evidence by Steven L Rogers
8. Fingerprint Analysis by Wade Knaap
9. Firearms and Ballistics by Liam Hendrikse
10. Fire Investigation by Vladimir (Val) Chlistovsky
11. Forensic Anthropology by Tracy Rogers
12. Forensic Biology and DNA by Cecilia Hageman
13. Forensic Botany by Rolf W Mathewes
14. Forensic Document Examination by Dan C Purdy
15. Forensic Entomology by Gail S Anderson and Sherah L VanLaerhoven
16. Forensic Nursing by Sheila Early
17. Forensic Odontology by David Sweet OC 
18. Forensic Pathology by Forensic Pathologists of the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto
19. Forensic Psychiatry by Hy Bloom and Richard D Schneider
20. Forensic Toxicology — Alcohol and Drugs by James Wigmore and James Watterson
21. Memory in the Criminal Courts by Timothy E Moore, Stephanie Marion, C Lindsay Fitzsimmons and Brian Cutler
22. Probability by Alison Weir
23. Statistics by Alison Weir

Table of Cases


Bravo to Irwin for providing yet another work which will prevent flawed forensic science and inadequacies in the court process from yielding miscarriages of justice — and bravo to Pakosh, and her contributors, for providing us — not just defence lawyers, but prosecutors, expert witnesses and judges as well, no matter in which country they happen to reside — with such an array of helpful tools for avoiding wrongful convictions. It’s a worthy goal for all of us.

Harold Levy, Publisher, The Charles Smith Blog

The Lawyer’s Guide to the Forensic Sciences, edited by Caitlin Pakosh…is an ambitious work that introduces readers to the key forensic sciences used in Canadian courts. … [It] provides a useful, accessible, and comprehensive introduction to the forensic sciences and their use in Canadian courts. This book is recommended for law students, criminal lawyers, and more generally to people interested in the forensic sciences and the law.

Goldwynn Lewis, Canadian Law Library Review 42:3 (2017)


Published 30 September 2016
Publisher Irwin Law (Canada)
ISBN 9781552214121
Australian RRP $125.00
International Price $115.00
currency converter


Law - Evidence
Law - Criminal Law & Procedure
Law - Canadian Law
Criminology & Policing - Criminology

        BACK TO TOP