Bayes and the Law

Article


Fenton, Norman, Neil, Martin and Berger, D. 2016. Bayes and the Law. Annual Review of Statistics and Its Application. 3 (1), pp. 51-77.
AuthorsFenton, Norman, Neil, Martin and Berger, D.
Abstract

Although the use of statistics in legal proceedings has considerably grown in the last 40 years, primarily classical statistical methods rather than Bayesian methods have been used. Yet the Bayesian approach avoids many of the problems of classical statistics and is also well suited to a broader range of problems. This article reviews the potential and actual use of Bayes in the law and explains the main reasons for its lack of impact on legal practice. These reasons include misconceptions by the legal community about Bayes' theorem, overreliance on the use of the likelihood ratio, and the lack of adoption of modern computational methods. We argue that Bayesian networks, which automatically produce the necessary Bayesian calculations, provide an opportunity to address most concerns about using Bayes in the law.

KeywordsBayes; Bayesian networks; statistics in court; legal arguments
JournalAnnual Review of Statistics and Its Application
Journal citation3 (1), pp. 51-77
ISSN2326-831X
2326-8298
Year2016
PublisherAnnual Reviews
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1146/annurev-statistics-041715-033428
Publication dates
PrintJun 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited25 Jan 2017
FunderEuropean Research Council
Copyright information© 2016 Annual Reviews
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/850q9

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