UKIAFT Laboratory Guidelines

The UK & Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists (UKIAFT) consists of representatives from each of the main laboratories in the United Kingdom and Ireland offering Forensic Toxicology Services. In the absence of national guidelines for forensic toxicology, the UKIAFT approached the board of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists with a view to amending the Laboratory Guidelines published jointly by SOFT and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). The SOFT/AAFS Forensic Toxicology Laboratory Guidelines (Version 2006) were reviewed and amended to better reflect toxicology standards and practices within the UK & Ireland. This resulted in the publication of the first UKIAFT laboratory guidelines in 2010 (“The United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists Forensic toxicology guideline (2010)”, Sci Justice. 50:166–176) [see below]. Since then, there have been various changes in laboratory testing, not least the wider use of liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, including high resolution mass spectrometry and is reflected in this revision.

The UK & Ireland Association of Forensic Toxicologists Forensic Toxicology Laboratory Guidelines (version 2018) acknowledge the following international standards:

  • BS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for testing laboratories,
  • ILAC G-19:8/2014 guidelines for forensic science laboratories and,
  • BS EN ISO/IEC 15189:2012 for medical laboratories

These guidelines do not necessarily reflect opinions about the minimum requirement for any laboratory, nor do they have any regulatory purpose; rather, they are intended to assist laboratories engaged in the practice of forensic toxicology in achieving future goals. These guidelines are also in the processing of forming an Appendix for forensic toxicology in the UK Forensic Regulator's Codes of Practice and Conduct for forensic science providers and practitioners in the Criminal Justice System.

download UKIAFT Laboratory Guidelines 2018

Previous version

The UKIAFT acknowledge the substantive work carried out by the Guidelines Committee of SOFT and AAFS in establishing the SOFT/AAFS Forensic Toxicology Guidelines in 2006 which provided this document

download version (2010)

UKIAFT: Establishing best practice for professional training & development in forensic toxicology

The current status of forensic toxicology in the United Kingdom is discussed with an emphasis on professional training and development. Best practice is proposed using a blend of modular foundation knowledge training, continuing professional development, academic study, research & development and ongoing analytical practice.

The need for establishing a professional career structure is also discussed along with a suggested example of a suitable model.

The issues discussed in this paper are intended to provoke discussion within the forensic toxicology community, industry regulators and other government bodies responsible for the administration of justice.

Full issue can be browsed online at the Science & Justice website or...

download full document in pdf

Member Publications

  • Clarke's Analysis of Drugs & Poisons, 2011. Editors Anthony C. Moffat, M. David Osselton, Brian Widdop & Jo Watts. 4th Edition. Pharmaceutical Press.
  • Clarke's Analytical Forensic Toxicology, 2013. Editors Adam Negrusz & Gail Cooper. 2nd Edition. Pharmaceutical Press.
  • Symptoms and Signs of Substance Misuse, 2014. Authors Margaret Stark, Jason Payne-James and Michael Scott-Ham. 3rd Edition. CRC Press.

Recommended Reading

  • An Overview of New Psychoactive Substances and the Outlets Supplying Them. National Advisory Committee on Drugs.
  • Research and Development in Forensic Science: A Review. Home Office
  • Review of Research and Development in Forensic Science: University Responses
  • Review of Research and Development in Forensic Science: Other Responses

Alcohol Back Calculation

Alcohol Back calculations may be required in a number of forensic casework situations and are commonly used in drinking and driving cases.

These guidelines are designed to ensure, where possible, a consistent approach to such casework within the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. There are potentially many parameters that could be used for such calculations which could produce a different evidential outcome given the same information. The guidelines are designed to minimise potential problems with forensic alcohol calculations; they are not prescriptive instructions on ‘how to perform’ these calculations.

Download UKIAFT ATD v4.4 (Jan 2024)

Download FSR alcohol back calculation guidance