Module details for Forensic Science: Quality, Regulation and the Law


In this module students will learn how forensic practitioners interact with the UK legal system, and how the legal system influences how forensic work is carried out. Students will also learn about the importance of quality assurance in forensic work. This is a system that allows users of forensic services to be sure of the results and reports produced by forensic practitioners. This module will also cover the guidance that is issued by the forensic science regulator in the UK to ensure the quality of forensic services across the UK.


The aim of this module is for students to understand the legal, regulatory and quality environment that forensic practitioners operate in.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Describe the UK legal systems (Scots Law, England/Wales and Northern Ireland) with regards to criminal law and how it relates to the area of forensics.

2.  Locate and apply the guidance from the UK Forensic Science Regulators to forensic practices.

3.  Describe the importance of a range of quality standards for the achievement of quality in forensics.

4.  Create standard operating procedures that can be used to maintain uniformity of performance.

Indicative Content

1 UK Legal systems for forensic practitioners

The structure of the Scottish legal system versus the rest of the UK; sources of law, abiding by the law and general principles of criminal law for forensic practitioners; rules of evidence concerning relevance, admissibility, weight and sufficiency of evidence; legal concepts of corroboration (Scots Law) and of competence and compellability of witnesses as they apply throughout the UK; differences between witnesses as to fact and expert witnesses.

2 Quality Management

Sources of Error, Total Quality Management, ISO 17025, ISO17020, Standard Operating Procedures, ILAC-G19.

3 Forensic Science Regulator

Field Specific codes of practice, Forensic Science Regulators Codes of Practice, Forensic Science “lessons learnt”, Forensic science providers codes of practice.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 6
Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 132
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2021/22 , and may be subject to change for future years.