FAQFrequently asked questions

1. What should I send in order to obtain a quote from SLS Forensics?
Please send us a letter outlining your proposed instructions together with a copy of the Crown’s scientist(s) statement or Streamlined Forensic Report (SFR). It is helpful to include any advice you might have from Counsel and in complex cases the MG5 case summary. Please note that a SFR is not a statement for Court purposes – it is simply an early notification from the Crown of the evidence against your client so that he/she can indicate whether or not they are challenging it. We can examine the findings contained in an SFR but it is much better for you to insist that the CPS obtain an evidential statement from their scientist. We often find that cases are discontinued at this stage when the CPS realise their evidence does not hold up for the purposes of their prosecution.

2. What should I send in order to instruct a SLS Forensics scientist?
Please send a letter of instruction, copy of the CRM4 and any of the above documents that were not sent to obtain the quote. The SLS Forensics scientists may also ask you for other documents such as the notes and/or statement from a forensic medical examiner in a sexual offence or the pathologists statement in a murder enquiry.

3. How quickly can the work be done?
We always aim to meet your Court deadlines; cases can be turned around in a day or two if necessary but normally allow 2 – 3 weeks if the case involves a laboratory visit or further DNA testing. Delays sometimes arise during the application for prior authority and more frequently due to the CPS failing to notify their scientists that they must make their notes or facilities available to the SLS Forensics’ scientists. Sometimes exhibits need returning to the Crown scientist by the Police. There is a lot that you can do to avoid delays such as notifying the CPS of the need for them to contact their scientist as soon as you make the prior authority application. We can provide a proforma letter for you to send to the CPS if needed.

4. What about costs to the defence from the Crown’s scientist?
The crown’s forensic providers will make a charge for provision of a copy of their notes and for allowing access to their laboratory for a defence scientist. We can obtain an estimate from the forensic science provider, in your name, for you to obtain separate LAA prior authority for those fees. You would then need to pay the provider directly yourselves on receipt of the funds from the LAA.

5. What if the Court orders that a joint agreed statement be prepared with the Crown’s scientist?
We have great deal of experience of providing joint reports and indeed, following on from our duty in the Criminal Procedure Rules to try to reach agreement prior to trial, we will often seek to obtain a joint agreed statement even if the Judge has not ordered one to be provided. If this is required we may need to you to apply for extra funding.