Forensic science


Forensic science


The Sydney Declaration of 2021 (see here) strives to define forensic science as “a case-based (or multi case-based) research-oriented endeavour using the principles of science to study and understand traces – the remnants of past activities (such as an individual’s presence and actions) – through their detection, recognition, examination and interpretation to understand anomalous events of public interest (e.g., crimes, litigations, security incidents)”

Forensic science relies on several principles:

  1. Activity and presence produce traces that are fundamental vectors of information
  2. Scene investigation is a scientific and diagnostic endeavour requiring scientific expertise
  3. Forensic science is case-based and reliant on scientific knowledge, investigative methodology and logical reasoning
  4. Forensic science is an assessment of findings in context due to time asymmetry.
  5. Forensic science deals with a continuum of uncertainties.
  6. Forensic science has multi-dimensional purposes and contributions
  7. Forensic Science findings acquire meaning in context

In a nutshell, forensic science can be understood as the science of traces.

Forensic science


Forensic science studies traces, regardless of their nature and size. To provide a range: the few nanograms of DNA needed to establish a genetic profile constitute a trace, just as much as the Acropolis in Athens constitutes a trace of the ancient Greek civilisation.

But where would a firm find traces interesting enough to warrant the study of this new science?

Locard’s exchange principle states that a nefarious action always leaves a trace. A firm’s offices, receipts, computer and social networks can thus be places where traces of interest can be found.

Archeology is a search for traces. An epidemiologist or a journalist need traces to work. Competitive intelligence consists in seeking out, finding and analysing traces of a competitor’s activities.

Training in forensic science is learning to collect, analyse and conserve traces, and interpret the analyses’ results. In order to understand and adapt to a rapidly evolving environment, all companies – public or private – will soon feel a growing need for forensicians.


Forensic science


Financial audit

When they are tasked by a client to perform an audit, an audit company will consult an analyse the receipts and accounting documents they are given, and look for anomalies, irregularities, etc. - in a word, traces of embezzlement or other breaches of laws, rules or regulations. By doing so, they are acting as investigators.

Cliquer ici
Risk management

When a firm becomes aware of, or at least suspects the existence of facts that would be detrimental to them, they will have to look for traces of these facts, which they can then analyse and confront to what they already know in order to identify the perpetrator. By doing so, the firm applies a forensic approach to their internal inquiry.

Cliquer ici
The judicial domain

A judicial inquiry is the most emblematic application of the forensic approach. Technicians will identify and collect traces from a crime scene they judge relevant to the inquiry, and those will be sent to a laboratory to be analysed. The results are then expressed in terms of probabilities, which will constitute a decision aid tool to identify the perpetrator.

Cliquer ici
Legal advice

PA lawyer of any speciality, must study the context of the case on which he is working in order to better counsel and defend their client. By collecting, analysing and interpreting those traces of the past that led to a particular event, they have a daily practice of the forensic approach.

Cliquer ici
Previous slide
Next slide