The public inquiry into the Shirley McKie fingerprint case has heard that the lack of a court ruling on the disputed prints has dogged the case.
The claim was made by senior counsel to the inquiry, Gerry Moynihan QC, on its opening day.
Former police officer Ms McKie was cleared of perjury after she was accused of leaving her fingerprints at a murder scene.
She was later awarded £750,000 in compensation following the trial.
In his opening speech, Mr Moynihan, set out the history of the case and told how it had involved several investigations and inquiries.
"The greatest weakness of these past investigations is they did not result in a judicial determination," he said.
Mr Moynihan said the controversy over the fingerprints had divided experts.
He continued: "This is the opportunity to have an independent judicial inquiry to investigate fully and publicly the controversy surrounding these fingerprints, and to reach conclusions in relation to the fingerprint examinations that were carried out to learn lessons for the future and ensure the public can have confidence in the reliance placed on fingerprint evidence in trials in Scotland."
The McKie inquiry is being chaired by former Northern Ireland judge Sir Anthony Campbell.