WP04 - Ethical and legal aspects, and the societal dimension of forensic genetics


The central objectives of this Workpackage are…

  •  To identify the social, legal and ethical risks associated with the developing uses of forensic genetics in support of criminal investigations and national security.
  • To map current laws regarding forensic DNA profiling and databasing across Europe and examine the legality of new and emerging forensic technologies.
  • To examine the nature of public concerns about forensic DNA profiling and databasing with particular respect to issues of personal privacy.
  • To elaborate ethical guidelines for those involved in current and emerging forensic DNA profiling and databasing.
  • To provide ongoing ethical and legal scrutiny of all exemplary projects undertaken by the consortium and to consider the social implications of their implementation.
  • To establish a virtual resource bank of information about social, ethical and legal aspects of current and emerging uses of forensic genetics, designed for high accessibility for the public, in addition to providing access to key publications for professionals and hosted within the planned European Virtual Centre of Research in Forensic Genetics.

Workpackage Description

Task 1: To identify social and ethical legal risks associated with the development of forensic genetics

Task 2: To research the current laws regarding DNA data basing across Europe and examine legal issues surrounding the introduction of new forensic technologies

Task 3: To research the societal impact by investigating public concerns about forensic DNA typing, the impact of criminal DNA databases and privacy protection

Task 4: To elaborate ethical and legal guidelines and make recommendations for the future

Task 5: To engage all members of the Consortium in a process of ethical and legal ‘self-scrutiny’ as an essential element in the design, execution and implementation of the network as a whole and of the exemplar research projects (WP 3) in particular

Task 6: To establish a virtual resource bank of information about current and emerging uses of forensic DNA profiling

Task 7: To organise a session on ‘ethical, legal and social issues’ in an international conference which will present the work of EUROFORGEN-NoE

WP Leader

Dr. Denise Syndercombe Court (Queen Mary, University of London)