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Expert Immunity Notes

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This is an extract of our Expert Immunity document, which we sell as part of our Civil Procedure Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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ESSAY PLAN 3 - Expert immunity Against Jones v Kaney (2011) - SC abolished an expert's immunity from liability in negligence when acting as an expert witness. Court can direct that there should be a discussion (CPR 35.12) between party experts followed by a joint statement. Whilst the discussions themselves are privileged (CPR 35.12(4)), the joint statement is not privileged as becomes available to court (35.12(3)); although it is not formally binding on the parties but will be difficult to sidesteps The expert acknowledged the joint statement did not reflect her true opinion - she signed the joint statement because she felt pressured to. High Court just issued a certificate under s12(1) Administration of Justice Act 1969 that the case should proceed directly to the SC. Reverses the CoA's decision in Stanton (2002) - held that an expert is immune from liability in negligence when agreeing to a joint statement factual witness immunity)
= expert is potentially liable to his instructing party for negligence in the giving of an opinion, the presentation of a report, the giving of evidence at trial, and for the manner in which he conducts meetings between experts The case does not abolish the absolute privilege against claims in defamation that expert witnesses continue to enjoy along with witnesses of fact, the judge, jury and lawyers involved in the proceedings. Majority - every wrong should have a remedy; this would only be departed for good reason. No evidence to suggest that expert witnesses, who it must be presumed are professional and conscientious, would behave discreditably by modifying their opinions from those they truly held because they feared an aggrieved client may seek redress against them. CPR r.35.3 states that an expert has a duty to help the court on matters within his expertise and this overrides the expert's duty to his client. The majority in the SC found that the expert thus owes a duty to his client to comply with his duty to the court so there is in fact no conflict between the expert's duty to the court and that owed to his client. Lord Phillips - significant that expert witness immunity has already been eroded. Meadow - expert witnesses can be subject to disciplinary proceedings for evidence given in court proceedings where an expert's fitness to practice is in issue. Phillips v Symes (no.2) - Smith J: expert witnesses can be liable for wasted costs orders for their reckless or grossly negligent advice/ conduct during proceedings. Andrews thinks this is preferable because of high burden and the aggrieved party's primary recourse for financial compensation under the costs system is against the litigant who hired the expert.

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