Statistics and the law

The case of Sally Clark

The RSS decided to work on statistics and the law following a number of court cases where the interpretation of statistics has been of concern.

We wrote a letter to the Lord Chancellor in January 2002 setting out our concerns about the case of Sally Clark and miscalculation of the probability of two cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in a family. For more information download the ‘Letter from the president to the Lord Chancellor regarding the use of statistical evidence in court cases’ (PDF) and the RSS Press Statement: Royal Statistical Society concerned by issues raised in Sally Clark case, 23 October 2001.

Our interest in statistics and the law continues to the present day

Practitioner guides

From 2010 to 2014, a Statistics and the Law working group produced four practitioner guides on aspects of statistical evidence and probabilistic reasoning.

For more information and to download copies of the guides go to our practitioner guides page.

Statistics and the Law Section

Our Statistics and the Law Section was established in 2015, and aims to improve understanding and use of statistics in the administration of justice. The Section links us to legal, scientific and justice communities.

Any member of the statistical, legal or forensic scientific communities, and anyone else, who is interested in the work of the Section is welcome to join their meetings.

ICCA / RSS guide: Statistics and probability for advocates

The Society has collaborated with the Inns of Court College of Advocacy to produce a short introductory guide for barristers, Statistics and probability for advocates: understanding the use of statistical evidence in courts and tribunals. This guide seeks to assist advocates with understanding, presenting and challenging expert evidence in court, and is freely available to download from the ICCA and RSS websites.