Forensic science, a general applied science, applies the principles and methods of natural sciences and social sciences to the investigation of crime and judicial practice, involving many groups such as scientific researchers, government law enforcement, identified objects and experimental objects. There are ethical issues possibly involved in forensic science research and judicial practice. Whether forensic science research conforms to legal norms, international conventions and relevant ethical requirements have a strong impact on the authority and credibility of the government law enforcement. With the introduction of the new policy on the reform of criminal procedure, further provisions have been put forward for implementing the requirements of evidence judgement, standardizing criminal investigation and evidence obtaining, and unifying the standards and procedures of judicial appraisal, which have brought forensic science of China into a new stage of standardization. However, there is still no research on ethics and norms of conduct in the field of forensic science in China, and the relevant ethical review bodies and review rules are still blank, with comparison to the ethical normative construction of the foreign judicial appraisal profession.
Based on the current ethical practice of forensic science research, this paper analyzes the insufficiency of professional ethics norm construction, the absence of scientific research ethics supervision. The construction of forensic science professional ethic not only promotes the fairness and justice of judicial expertise, but is also a value guidance and professional protection for forensic science practitioners. Although there is some beneficial exploration in the ethical review of forensic science research field, improvement of ethical supervision is still needed to meet the requirements of the awareness of ethical consciousness and sustainable development in this field, such as the mechanism of on-going supervision and post-evaluation. To some extent, there is unavoidable inherent conflict between the professional characteristics and ethical requirements of forensic science, such as the conflict between citizens′ rights of individual privacy and public security needs, and the problem of how to clearly define the individual rights of the criminals by improving the legal regulation. Since the primary goal of forensic science is to safeguard the interests of public security and social justice, ethical principle in the field of forensic science might be reflected on emphasizing the ethical and moral concepts that are highly responsible for social fairness and justice and trying to avoid occupational harm in practice.
This paper also proposes to strengthen the organization and system construction of ethical review of forensic science research, promote the construction of ethical norms of forensic science, and carry out ethical education and training to forensic science researchers. It is suggested to establish forensic science ethics committee in relative institutions and administrative departments, which is a permanent organization for the ethical supervision of forensic science field, playing a dual supervisory role of management and technology. The purpose of the discussion is to enrich the preliminary theoretical system of the ethical construction of forensic science research in China, to explore a scientific ethical model suited to China′s national conditions and characteristics of forensic science, and to promote forensic scientists to better practice their fair and just responsibilities.