Reliability evaluation of a forensic expert's opinion: World practices and Ukrainian realities

Improving the activities of pre-trial investigation and judicial review largely depends on the increased use of special knowledge in forensic investigative practice and, above all, the involvement of an expert and their analysis. The relevance of the subject matter is explained by the need to introduce new forms and approaches to evaluating the reliability of expert opinions, in particular with the involvement of independent specialists of the corresponding speciality. The purpose of this study was to provide arguments regarding the expediency of attracting knowledgeable persons as reviewers to evaluate the objectivity and completeness of forensic analysis, the correctness of the methods and techniques applied by the expert, and the validity of the opinion. To achieve this purpose, the following general scientific and special research methods were used: Aristotelian, comparative legal, functional, sociological, statistical, system and formal legal analysis, legal modelling, and forecasting. It was established that in the vast majority of countries of the world, except Ukraine, an independent, knowledgeable person with special knowledge in the corresponding field is involved to help evaluate the reliability of an expert opinion. It was proved that contacting knowledgeable persons to evaluate the objectivity, validity, completeness of expert research helps establish the causality between the identified features of the object of analysis and the fact that is subject to establishment, and also gives grounds for determining the affiliation, admissibility, reliability, and sufficiency of the expert opinion. At the same time, a specialist's review cannot serve as a source of evidence, but only has an auxiliary (advisory, technical) nature and can serve as a basis for appointing a second (additional) forensic analysis or a cross-examination of the expert and the reviewer. To exercise the rights of individuals to fair justice, it is proposed to introduce this procedure for evaluating the reliability of expert opinions in Ukraine, with the necessary changes in the current procedural legislation of Ukraine to provide an opportunity for participants in criminal proceedings and the victim to attract knowledgeable persons as reviewers of expert opinions

Doi: 10.37635/jnalsu.28(2).2021.252-261