Professor Kimberley Wade examines the problem with witness memory
Psychological scientists have long been aware of the perils of witness memory, but legal policy and practice on gathering and evaluating witness evidence is rarely research-led. Dr Kimberley Wade, a cognitive psychologist and Reader at the University of Warwick, has spent 20 years examining the reliability of human memory and the various factors that can affect how we remember. Since 2016, Dr Wade has served as a scientific advisor to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The ICC’s International Court of Arbitration is the gold standard in arbitral institutions and oversees more than 45 million companies in 100+ countries. In November 2020, under Dr Wade’s guidance, the ICC published an extensive report that describes the application of witness evidence research to high-stakes commercial disputes, and the various measures that legal practitioners can adopt to maximise the probative value of witness evidence and minimise errors in memory. The report also outlines the first systematic study demonstrating witness memory distortions in a commercial law context. Since the report was published, Dr Wade has been speaking to legal professionals and policy makers around the globe about the application of psychological science to legal decision making. You can view a recent webinar in which Dr Wade joins The Rt. Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, John Kimbell QC, and Peter Ashford to discuss what the ICC report means for legal professionals and how it aligns with the newly published English Courts rules on witness evidence.