Expert Determination & Work as an Expert

Expert Determination and work as an Expert


There is a distinction between being an Expert Determiner and acting as an Expert Witness either for individual parties or as a single joint expert for both parties. The concept of Single Joint Expert (SJE)was introduced by the Woolf reforms and was designed to save costs by providing the same expert evidence to a Court or tribunal. An expert acting as an SJE is therefore cross examined by both parties and the Judge. Whatever the appointment an expert has an over-riding duty to the Court or Tribunal over the interests of any instructing party.

Experts can be appointed to look at any aspect of a case with regard to quantum issues, liability or indeed fraud on the criminal side. The role of the Expert Witness is to be an independent neutral who is knowledgeable about the particular issues in dispute and who can give evidence without arguing for either party to assist the Judge or tribunal in deciding the correct interpretation of the facts. This is quite distinct from the role of a lawyer who is partisan and acts in the instructing client’s interests as an Advocate to put argument in Court and to persuade the Judge that his client is correct in his claims.

The good Expert Witness will be able to give clear independent written and oral evidence on the subject within his field. The expert should also assist the lawyers in preparing the case and understanding the arguments of both their own party and that of the opposition and at all times remain honest, professional and impartial. It is important that the expert has the requisite skills and experience to understand and explain all the technical issues and is up to date with developments in his field.

Kay Linnell is a Governor and Director of the Expert Witness Institute and has spent many years in giving evidence and lectures explaining the duties and responsibilities of and Expert Witness. It is important to have some understanding of the proper procedures and these are the Part 35 Procedure Rules in civil cases and Part 33 Criminal Procedure Rules in criminal cases. It is always understood that sometimes it is inappropriate to appoint and Expert who is going to give evidence in Court but Kay has proved on many occasions that Instructing her as an expert to work alongside the team of lawyers in any dispute has often added value by avoiding the necessity to redraft heads of claim and to provide an early insight and assistance at negotiations to settle without going to a full hearing.

Expert evidence is normally given in cases involving personal injury and fatal accidents, share evaluation, matrimonial dispute, professional negligence, business interruptions, other commercial claims and fraud investigations either for the Crown or private individuals.


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