Welcome to the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS)

The AFS (Australian Forensic Society) was formed in 1971 to bring together scientists, police, criminalists, pathologists, and legal professionals actively involved in forensic science. In 1988 the AFS recognised New Zealand members and became the ANZFSS. Our objectives are to enhance the quality of forensic science through our international symposium and the events and meetings by each branch about forensic science. The ANZFSS accepts membership from all persons with bona fide interests in forensic science, and has drawn up a Code of Professional Practice for its members.

Within Australia there is a branch in each state and territory. Within NZ there are branches in Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. Each branch in Australia and the NZFSS appoints a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and committee members at the branch’s AGM. Branch’s hold regular events and meetings that involve lectures by experts in their field and provide opportunities for members and guests (where appropriate) to meet in an informal atmosphere. Branch meetings are organised by the local committee.

The ANZFSS is managed by the Executive that are appointed at the ANZFSS AGM including a President, Treasurer and Secretary. The Executive is elected for two years and may stand for re-election. The NZFSS President and most recent Past-President are also part of the Executive. The Executive and Branches offer awards to enable members to travel to advance their education and experience in forensic science.

The Council consist of the Executive and a representative from each branch. The Council is the ANZFSS’s decision-making body and meets quarterly and at the ANZFSS AGM.

International Symposium

The Symposium is the ANZFSS’s major event, and each branch is responsible in turn for organising. To encourage members to participate, the Executive and Branches award scholarships for members to attend this event.

The Symposium covers the major areas of forensic science: biological and chemical criminalistics, illicit drugs, pathology and clinical medicine, blood pattern analysis, fires and explosives, science and justice, firearms and toolmarks, education and training, archaeology and anthropology, entomology, odontology, wildlife forensics, electronic evidence, document examination, fingerprint examination, management and quality assurance, toxicology and pharmacology, crime scene investigation, and biometrics.

Other activities

The ANZFSS President, or nominee, has a standing invitation to attend the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is based in The Hague, The Netherlands, and has jurisdictional powers to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Trials and prosecutions have included members of the Serbian high command following allegations of genocide in the former Yugoslavia, and individuals accused of war crimes in Rwanda.

The ICC is staffed by members of the legal community and deals with complex cross-jurisdictional allegations. The SAB provide assistance in matters of forensic medicine and science. The SAB, comprised of Presidents of forensic societies around the world, meets annually and deals with matters ad hoc throughout the year. The ANZFSS plays its role in attending the annual meeting and responding as required.

Standards Australia (SA), formed in 1922, is Australia’s representative on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Many of the practices in forensic science adhere to an ISO standard; the standard relevant to calibration and analytical laboratories in ISO17025.

The ANZFSS President, or nominee, sits on the forensic science sub-committee of SA, and was invited to sit on this sub-committee from its inception. The sub-committee of SA that is tasked with aligning Australian standards with ISO standards is CH-041, comprised of members with an interest in or professional relevance to quality standards. The ANZFSS aims to embrace matters that maintain or increase the standards adhered to in forensic science.