Vom 22. bis 24. September 2016 fand die 7. Internationale Konferenz der European Society for the History of Science in Prag statt. Die beiden Studierenden Leonie Benker und Julian Sandhagen und die Leiterin des Q-Teams „Forensic Science in the Practice of German Courts“ Dr. Raluca Enescu waren mit ihrem Beitrag “Witnesses and Experts in the Judgments of the Imperial Court of Justice (1880-1938)” vertreten.
„Lay witnesses were the privileged sources of information for trials until the 19th century. They provided facts by means of their statements, which were transformed into evidence by the legal process. At the end of the 19th century, the judicial setting in several European countries underwent profound changes with the shift from testimonial evidence to physical and biological evidence. Their interpretation emerged from new scientific fields that entered gradually the courtroom. From this evidential mutation arose forms of specialist knowledge delivered by expert witnesses called forensic experts.
While the influence of experts had been stated from the beginning of their use by courts, this study investigates how the legal realm incorporated scientific knowledge in their judgments. The analysis of the points of appeal and their rejection or acceptance show a development of judicial practice towards a broader assimilation of specialist knowledge and experts.“