Following the post yesterday about proving things and the role of experts there was an interesting comment from Elfed Williams.
WHAT DOES AN EXPERT DO ABOUT FACTS?
“I have some misgivings about whether an expert should identify primary facts and opine on the basis of those facts.
An expert is often presented with the need to extract from instructions and inspection (in the case of surveyors) and ascertain primary facts in any case, before he can give any opinion.
Or should he simply say.these are the facts I assume and proceed on that assumption ?”
THE ANSWER: IT IS ALL IN THE RULES
The answer to this is, as is often the case, in the Rules. Paragraph 57 of the Civil Justice Council Guidance for the instruction of Experts.
“57. When addressing questions of fact and opinion, experts should keep the
two separate. Experts must state those facts (whether assumed or otherwise)
upon which their opinions are based; experts should have primary regard to their
instructions (paragraphs 20-25 above). Experts must distinguish clearly between
those facts that they know to be true and those facts which they assume.
58. Where there are material facts in dispute experts should express separate
opinions on each hypothesis put forward. They should not express a view in
favour of one or other disputed version of the facts unless, as a result of
particular expertise and experience, they consider one set of facts as being
improbable or less probable, in which case they may express that view and
should give reasons for holding it.”
- The role of the expert witness in litigation: Supreme Court Guidance
- Expert reports: too long and not much use.
- More on experts: non-compliance with the rules taints the evidence badly
- The credibility of witnesses: joint meetings and overreaching experts: a case to point.
- Over eager experts just do not help: they hinder and harm the case of those who call them.
- Beware the expert evidence who “lectures” the court (and tells the judge who to believe).
- Expert evidence about the veracity of witnesses: well, its probably a waste of time.
- An expert must disclose details of professional relationship with a party otherwise the consequences can be dire.
- Irrelevant evidence, inferences and “forgery”: evidential issues in a High Court case.
- Principles of mitigation of loss & the credibility of expert witnesses.
- I didn’t mean it when I signed the joint report: what happens when experts change their minds?
- Expert evidence: the expert’s role: seeing the wood for the trees.
- Cross-examining expert witnesses: hints, tips and links.
- Experts going on a frolic: a family law case where the expert witness was “thoroughly unhelpful”.