The historical development of forensic inference and statistics is presented through fifteen important themes. The themes have been chosen as the ones that created, and in some cases are still creating, important debates. The Bayesian interpretative model has attracted many supporters in the area of interpretation and evaluation of evidence in forensic science. In the late 1990s increasing recognition of different aspects, or levels, of forensic examinations and reports of their outcomes, led to series of important papers that introduced a framework known as ‘Case Assessment and Interpretation’. The advances in formalization and computational support for rational thinking are highly valuable because they contribute to the coherent use of forensic information in the legal process. However, at their current level of development, probabilistic approaches still focus essentially on single items of evidence. Recent debate has concerned the inclusion, or otherwise, of a measure of uncertainty for a statement about the value of evidence.