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Opinion Evidence Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Opinion Evidence notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

OPINION EVIDENCE General rule: Ws can only give evidence of facts they personally perceived, NOT evidence of their opinion (inferences drawn from those facts) Court then forms its own opinion on the facts perceived by W. Exceptions where opinion evidence allowed:Non-experts: statement of opinion on any matter not calling for expertiseExperts: statement of opinion on any relevant matter calling for expertise may be made by a W qualified to give that opinion.

Non-Expert Opinion Evidence When a W of fact states their opinion and the "opinion" is actually a statement of several facts - admissible as long as there is a proper appraisal of the facts."Defendant was drunk""I estimate that he was driving at over 100mph"

Facts which Witness saw/heard/smelled which led to this opinion. Expert Opinion Evidence Where issue Court is required to determine is far removed from the court's expertise - needs opinion of expert to help determine. Expert opinion is admissible, but non-expert opinion should not be admitted. Party calling expert should ensure his evidence is limited to matters within his expertise on relevant and admissible issues. "Expert" Where a case requires expert opinion - only a suitably-qualified expert can give it. "Expert" - not necessarily require formal qualifications - requires specialised knowledge, information and study. Is Expert Opinion Required?
Difficulty distinguishing when the Jury should determine the issue and when an expert opinion is required (Jury likely to accept) Rule: Generally expert not required where offers opinion on normal human behaviour "normal human behaviour" - expert may be called when Defendant suffering from recognised medical condition or personality disorder. Bias Party who wishes to call an expert should disclose to the court and other parties any interest the

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