American Association for Laboratory Accreditation

Forensic Examination Accreditation Program

A2LA's Forensic Examination accreditation program was developed for those organizaitions that perform testing on submitted or collected items where the result of that testing will be used in criminal or civil litigation. In addition, the program encompasses inspection units that perform examinations of an item or location and, on the basis of professional judgment, make a determination of conformity with proposed events or known conditions. As such, A2LA's accreditation of Forensic Examination organizations spans two programs: testing laboratories and inspection bodies. Organizations wishing to attain both laboratory and inspection body accreditation must complete both application processes and comply with all requirements in both programs.

In reality, any test or inspection performed could ultimately be meant for use in court. For example, a manufacturer may request failure analysis testing on a manufactured item to help improve their product, but another customer may request the same analysis with the ultimate aim of using the results in a civil trial. The work isn't any different, but how you approach the examination is. If the work is done incorrectly or if it is conducted by an untrained or incompetent employee, your report may be ruled inadmissible in court. A2LA accreditation conveys to potential customers and to judicial authorities that you have confidence in your work product and that this confidence has been confirmed by a third party, non-profit organization.

Accreditation Requirements - Forensic Testing Laboratories

Forensic testing laboratories are assessed against the general criteria found in ISO/IEC 17025:2005 General Requirements for the Accreditation of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. In addition, specific program requirements have been developed for all Forensic testing laboratories, which include criteria adopted from national and international sources, and the A2LA Forensic Examination Advisory Committee (FEAC) has developed a consensus document which compiles all consensus decisions related to the Forensic Examination field. Since this consensus document is considered an A2LA Policy, laboratories accredited by A2LA in the Forensic Examination field are expected to adhere to the decisions contained within it.

Click on the "Download Application Documents" button to the right to obtain all documents relevant to the Forensic testing field.

Accreditation Requirements - Forensic Inspection Units

Forensic inspection units are assessed against the general criteria found in ISO/IEC 17020:1998 General Criteria for the Operation of Various Types of Bodies Performing Inspection. In addition, specific program requirements have been developed for all Forensic inspection units, which include criteria adopted from national and international sources, and the A2LA Forensic Examination Advisory Committee (FEAC) has developed a consensus document which compiles all consensus decisions related to the Forensic Examination field. Since this consensus document is considered an A2LA Policy, inspection units accredited by A2LA in the Forensic Examination field are expected to adhere to the decisions contained within it.

We invite you to click here for more information (including all applicable documentation) about A2LA's Forensic inspection body accreditation program.

Optional Requirements

Any laboratory performing tests in the field (i.e., at other than a permanent laboratory site) may seek accreditation for this field work. In these cases, A2LA has developed additional requirements for laboratories performing tests in the field. These requirements and the associated checklist may be found through the "Download Application Documents" button to the right for any laboratory interested in adding these capabilities to their scope of accreditation.

Sub-Programs

In addition to the general Forensic testing and inspection body accreditation programs, sub-programs within this field have been developed in the following areas, which have associated with them additional, specific requirements:

Click on the sub-programs listed above for more information.

Acceptance/Recognition of Accreditation in this Field

Interested in learning how A2LA accreditation in this field of testing may be accepted internationally as well as domestically by federal, state and private sector entities? Click on the following links for more information:

Advisory Committee

A2LA has developed a Forensic Examination Advisory Committee (FEAC) to assist the Association by providing technical input on policy creation and decisions related to the area of forensic examination. If you wish to participate on the FEAC, we invite you to contact Karin Athanas, A2LA Program Manager, at kathanas@A2LA.org.