There have been many occasions on this blog where I have commented on expert evidence. The links below show many cases where experts have caused major problems (usually for the party instructing them). There are numerous reports of cases where an expert has gone awry, sometimes badly awry (on one occasion the expert simply fled the courtroom before completing their evidence). That is why I have read the book “On Experts” by barrister David Boyle with considerable interest. It is a book that is needed, by lawyers and experts alike.
The book aims to be an introductory text but not a beginner’s guide. It is a book for practitioners and not academics.
There is a methodical working through the obtaining of expert evidence; the instruction of the expert; the presentation of the evidence; experts in court. Evidence of its practical value can be seen by some of the sub-headings “Sacking an expert”, “Manipulating expert evidence”. It covers live evidence and, of course, compares the traditional approach to “Hot-tubbing”.
The section on specific reports deals primarily with experts in the context of personal injury and clinical negligence. There are sections on reconstruction experts, engineering evidence, medical experts and clinical negligence (liability) reports.
THE PRACTICALITY OF THE BOOK
The practical nature of the book can be seen in the section on “live evidence”. The practitioner is reminded that the costs budget must be considered. If possible a conference with the expert should be factored into the budget. The same chapter considers the advantages and disadvantages of “hot-tubbing” and gives guidance (which is very much needed) on how advocates should approach a case involving “hot-tubbing”.
The book also deals with issues relating to single joint experts and the joint report. It is clearly informed by extensive practical experience of the day to day difficulties that litigators (and experts) face. Part of its remit is to give guidance on how to head off those difficulties in the first place by taking accurate proofs of evidence and instructing the expert properly and accurately.
This is a book that is needed.It should be purchased by lawyers and anyone who is thinking of giving “expert” evidence.
The book cost £85 and is available here
- The dangers of relying on expert evidence
- The interchange between lawyers and experts: a difficult issue
- Experts and facts: it is all in the rules.
- 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”.