A Critical Method for the Evaluation of Evidence: François Gorphe’s (1889-1959) Contribution to a Science of Proof à la française

Leclerc, Olivier
In his 1924 book La critique du témoignage, the French judge François Gorphe (1889-1959) advocated the need that evaluation of evidence be based on the best scientific knowledge available. Drawing upon an extensive knowledge of the experiments conducted by contemporary forensic psychologists, Gorphe urged judges to consider forensic psychology when interrogating witnesses and, ultimately, when evaluating evidence. Gorphe imposed himself as one of the main promoters of a science of proof in France. This paper examines Gorphe’s contributions and the audience they received among forensic psychologists and criminologists in France and abroad. Despite their originality and anchoring in international scientific discussions, Gorphe’s views have not encouraged the creation of an academic domain interested in evidential reasoning in French law faculties. The paper concludes with an examination of the reasons for the limited posterity of Gorphe’s approac ​
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