Science Bench Book for Judges

The National Judicial College (NJC) and the Justice Speakers Institute, LLC (JSI) are pleased to announce the release of a new online publication, Science Bench Book for Judges, funded by the State Justice Institute (SJI).

What is your role as a gatekeeper?

Judges are the guardians of our system of justice, but forensic developments in the last 50 years have made their jobs significantly harder. The existing rules of evidence and procedure have not always anticipated new scientific discoveries. As evidentiary gatekeepers, judges must be able to anticipate and prepare to rule on admission of new areas of scientific evidence. In addition, some previously admitted types of evidence have now been discredited by the scientific community. 

However, judges do not need to become scientists in order to make appropriate evidentiary decisions about scientific evidence. Rather, they need to have a detailed understanding of their role in admitting scientific evidence. To achieve this, NJC and the Justice Speakers Institute, LLC are pleased to present a new online resource, Science Bench Book for Judges, to assist judges in making their rulings.

Download the entire bench book by clicking the button on the right, or just the section that you need.


Several of the distinguished authors of the Bench Book will deliver eight webcasts in July, August and September. Thanks to funding from the State Justice Institute, the Bench Book and webcasts are offered at no cost to judges.

All Webinars are at 12pm Pacific / 3pm Eastern | 75 minutes

Webcast Date
Frye, Daubert, and Your Role as a Judicial Gatekeeper July 9
Scientific Evidence July 18
Forensic Evidence August 7
DNA Evidence August 13
Civil Evidence August 21
Pre- and Post-Trial Criminal Evidence August 28
Expert Evidence September  5
Cyber Evidence September 25
Click Image to Download entire Bench Book

It has become ever more apparent that judges must have some understanding of science. This book is a helpful and necessary effort to provide judges with knowledge and techniques that will help them work with scientific subject matter.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Stephen Breyer

This publication was developed under grant number SJI-18-T-040 from the State Justice Institute. The points of view expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the State Justice Institute.