Brain Scanning and Lie Detectors: The Implications for Fundamental Defence Rights

Ed Johnston


This paper will examine how advancing neuroscientific technologies may impact on the fundamental human rights of the citizen accused. The paper takes an exploratory approach to analysis; the techniques explored throughout the paper are in their infancy and yet to permeate the criminal justice process of England and Wales. As such technology develops, other jurisdictions may start relying on the technology and they may be utilized more frequently in criminal trials in countries around the world; which may influence the techniques use in England and Wales. The paper will argue that adversarial criminal justice process of England and Wales should be concerned with both the domestic and international developments in “lie detection” technology. Furthermore, England and Wales should resist any advances to utilize the technology at the pre-trial investigation or trial stage. The paper will conclude that there is a role for neuroscientific evidence to play in the criminal justice process; we just need to ascertain the parameters for its use.

Full Text: