Novel Science or Oral History? The Admissibility of Co-Produced Information in Canadian Courts


  • David Isaac MA, JD, Student-at-Law, Lerners LLP, London, Ontario.



Co-production is an emerging source of information about the world, but it is one that has not been adequately theorized in the legal literature. Because co-production contains aspects of both novel science and oral history, it is not clear how it can be admitted. I argue that coproduced information does not clearly fit into either of the admissibility frameworks. With respect to the novel science framework, co-produced information fits into the criteria of testability, peer review, and standards with only a few problems, but would likely fail the general acceptance criterion of the test. However, if scientists are educated about co-production, or if it is possible to delineate a group of scientists who are more likely to accept co-production as the “relevant group,” then it may be possible for co-production to be admitted as evidence through the novel science framework. Turning to the oral history framework, co-produced information is less likely to be admitted because oral history is only a part, and not a necessary part, of co-produced information. As such, courts will likely be reluctant to bend the rules of evidence to admit it. Further research is needed to determine whether co-produced information can be admitted under the novel science framework.