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Expert Evidence Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Civil Ligitation Notes

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A more recent version of these Expert 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 Civil Ligitation Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:


? opinion = conveyance of facts personally perceived
? can give evidence on matters where impossible to separate inferences from perceived facts based on

? admissibility - no strict rules: o following admissible:e.g. ID: people, voices, objects, handwriting, speed, temperature, weather, passing of time, drugsdescription of condition of objectsdescription of value of commonplace objectsopinion on: age, health, bodily / emotional state, reaction to event /
circumstances, whether drunk


? general rules o artistic, scientific, technical issuesmust be decided on basis of expert evidencein absence of expert evidence, issue must be decided against party with burden of proof

o requirements for admissibility (a) matter must call for expertise i. i.e. NOT within in experience of most members of public ii. matters of credibility, motive for judge NOT expert iii. RTA reconstruction experts: NOT permitted to analyse WSs to deduce when motorists should've seen each other, what evasive action should've taken, whether any drivers should be criticised for expert (matters for judge)

iv. expert as factual witness: if gives evidence of primary facts within own knowledge, but often asked for professional opinion

(b) area must be established field of expertise i. usually obvious ii. if NOT party seeking to call must satisfy court (c) witness must have suitable qualifications and / or experience i. experience (without qualifications) can be enough e.g. mechanic

ii. evidence of expert with qualifications (but without experience) carries little weight

(d) opermission must be obtained from court assumed facts expert CAN express opinion directly on issues in case (CEA 1972 s3
- partly abolished ultimate issue rule)


part of ultimate issue rule still in tact: should NOT attempt to make findings of fact + should express opinion on basis of assumed fact (ID'd in report)


? court's power to control evidence + exclude otherwise admissible evidence (r32.1) particularly relevant for experts, as often expensive + time consuming GENERAL PROVISIONS

? interpretation / definitions o expert = person instructed to give / prepare expert evidence for purpose of proceedings (r35.2(1))

? experts' duty to court o the essenceduty to court overrides obligation to those instructing / paying them (r35.3)duty = to help court by providing objective, unbiased opinions matters within their expertise (r35.3, PD 35 para 2.2)

o other considerationsassist court in fulfilling OO (protocol para 4.2)expert evidence should be and be seen to be (Whitehouse v Jordan) independent product of expert uninfluenced by pressures of litigation (PD 35 para 2.1)experts should consider all material facts including those adverse to their opinions (PD 35 para 2.3)expert must give evidence honestly, even if involves concessions contrary to client's interest (Jones v Kaney)if issue falls outside expertise / unable to reach definite opinion, expert should make it clear (PD 35 para 2.4)if expert's view changes on material issue after producing report, should communicate change to all parties without delay + court when appropriate (PD 35 para 2.5)

o if expert adopts biased / irrational approachafter giving expert time to make representations, may refer conduct to professional body (Pearce)

o choice of expert in light of dutiesemployee of party - can be called as expert witness if qualified +
understands duty to court (Field v Leeds CC)expert evidence on own behalf - held to be entitled (psychologist gave re: why conduct not below standard of care - DN v Greenwich LBC)


? expert evidence only admissible with permission o DON'T need court's permission to instruct expert

o BUT need court's permission to call expert / put in expert report (r35.4(1)) o in deciding whether to grant permission, court:seeks to restrict expert evidence to that reasonably required to resolve proceedings (r35.1) i.e. restrict oral evidence + number of experts (PD35 para 1); +considers if costs proportionate to benefits, especially of multiple experts (r1.4(2)(h))

o application process (1) the application (r35.4(2)) a. provide estimate of costs of proposed expert evidence b. ID: i. field evidence required in; ii. issues expert will address; +
iii. (where practicable) name of proposed expert (2) the order / directions granting permission (r35.4(3)) a. will limit expert evidence i. shall only be in relation to named expert / field ID'd in application

ii. may specify issues expert should address iii. small claims and fast track: if given, permission usually for evidence from one expert on a particular issue (r35.4(3A))

iv. wrong to call more than 1 expert in field without very good reasons (JP Morgan Chase)

b. will specify whether expert evidence will be adduced by reference to reports / orally

i. small claims and fast track: court will NOT direct expert to attend hearing unless necessary in interests of justice (r35.5(2))

ii. multi-track: oral evidence = last resort (Daniels) c. if directions affect / require act to be done by expert party instructing must serve copy on expert (PD 35 para 8)

(3) fees / costs (r35.4(4) a. court may limit what is recoverable from other side
? appointment of experts o before instruct, establish: (a) have appropriate expertise + experience (b) familiar with expert's duties (c) can produce report, deal with questions + have discussions within reasonable time and at proportionate cost

(d) description of work sought (e) whether can attend trial (f) no potential conflict of interest

o at outset, agree terms of appointment e.g. time for delivery of report, basis of charges, compliance with CPR

o letter of instructionprovisionthose instructing should give clear instructions:

o basic info (names etc.); nature + extent of expertise required; purpose of advice; key issues; SoCs; what needs to be investigated; documents forming part of standard disclosure, outline programme +
deadlines for each stage of expert's work

o if proceedings NOT started - whether proceedings contemplated + if so whether expert only asked for advice

o if proceedings started - hearing dates, name of court, claim no, track (protocol para 8.1)?

if instructions NOT clear, experts should request clarification + may refuse to act till clarified (protocol para


acceptanceexpert should without delay:

o confirm whether accept o if cannot accept for any reason + why (protocol para

9.1)instructions NOT privileged against disclosure (r35.10(4))incomplete / inaccurate instructions + XX of experts on contentsXX NOT allowed unless

(a) court satisfied are reasonable grounds to consider the expert's statement of instructions to be inaccurate / incomplete (r35.10(4)); +

(b) if satisfied court will allow XX if in interests of justicedisclosure of specific document re: instructionscourt will NOT allow unless satisfied are reasonable grounds to consider the expert's statement of instructions to be inaccurate / incomplete (r35.10(4))

o withdrawal of expertmay withdraw for substantial and significant reasonshould discuss with those instructing + consider if better to ask court for directions insteadif withdraw must give formal written notice to those instructing (protocol para 10.1)

? expert's right to ask court for directions o expert may file written request to assist carry out function (r35.14(1)) o procedure

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