Neuroscientific evidence in the English courts

Claydon, Lisa and Catley, Paul (2011). Neuroscientific evidence in the English courts. In: Spranger, Tade Matthias ed. International Neurolaw: A Comparative Analysis. Bonn: Springer, pp. 305–328.



This chapter examines the use of neuroscientific evidence in the courts of England and Wales. It considers the breadth of use which has been made of this evidence. In particular it examines the use of this evidence in cases where the capacity of the legal actor has been questioned. This may apply in evaluations of criminal responsibility and in a civil context in assessing capacity to perform legally meaningful actions such as the making of wills. Consideration is given to what this evidence adds to determinations of whether individuals are in a persistent vegetative state in particular in relation to the withdrawal of treatment. This chapter looks at the use of expert evidence in court and briefly considers proposed changes. Finally the chapter considers how neuroscientific evidence may be used in the future and also whether it has wider application in the criminal and civil justice systems.

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