Your Authoritative Source on Singapore Law

Judging between Conflicting Expert Evidence – Understanding the Scientific Method and its Impact on Apprehending Expert Evidence

Ronald J J Wong

(2014) 26 SAcLJ 169

A proper understanding of the scientific method would impact the way that the law and the courts should apprehend expert evidence (including evidence on fields of knowledge other than science). In this article, the author examines various possible types of conflicts of expert evidence and the different approaches that the Singapore courts have taken in respect of such conflicts. It is argued that where there are conflicts over methodology or theory, the courts should consider whether there are demarcations of dominant and subordinate paradigms of methodology or theory and whether there is sufficient justificatory force in rebutting the dominant paradigm; where there is no clear dominant paradigm, the courts should rely on neutral reasoning processes such as the burden of proof. It would be observed that the above principles were applied by the High Court in Tan Eng Hong v Attorney-General [2013] 4 SLR 1059.