Who Can Be an Expert Witness
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Have you wanted to find out who can be an expert witness in the UK? We look at the role of an expert witness and when an expert witness is needed?
An expert witness is someone used by the court or a party to review evidence on a subject and provide their opinion or facts using their knowledge. Anyone can become an expert witness as long as they have knowledge or experience within a particular field, considered more than the average person.
What is an expert witness?
A witness is someone who can provide factual or opinionated statements based on the evidence provided. An expert witness can be anyone who has the knowledge or experience within a particular field or has a higher level of discipline.
An expert witness is a person who is generally qualified by either their formal qualifications, experience or knowledge to provide an opinion to a court or judge on the matter in question. An expert witness is usually used within a court to help decide on issues.
You cannot expect a court to have experts and knowledge in every field. That is why an expert witness is used, and this evidence given by the witness is called expert opinion evidence.
This evidence is admitted and used when the court lacks competence due to knowledge and expertise. The expert witnesses primary and sole duty is towards the court and providing evidence to the best of their ability.
Although the expert witness may be paid for by one side, they must provide a shared report for the court, and this witness may also be called upon to testify and answer any questions.
Regardless of who is paying for their duties to be fulfilled, they are requested by law to remain impartial and provide the evidence impartial to either side.
In many cases, having someone with relevant qualifications such as their job is essential and can do good as a set of qualifications, but experience in the matter in question is also essential.
However, in more modern court cases, many expert witnesses are expected to have practical knowledge of the subject matter.
This knowledge is preferred for actual clinical or practical experience for the ongoing court case. Because this evidence is being used in court, you may be subjected to cross-examination on either the report they provided or their ability as an expert witness.
In many areas, the easiest way for someone to discredit an expert witness who has retired is to find out when they last carried out the procedure, treated the condition or carried out the task in question.
Once this question is asked, it is usually answered with some years ago. The witness should be prepared to handle this type of questioning. Also, the witness should not be allowed to undertake any witness work for subjects whose expertise does not qualify them.
An expert witness has some qualities, such as having self-confidence and getting others to have confidence in them while on the witness box.
The expert witness should have the ability to provide concise opinions on the subject in question for others to understand fully. They should also adapt quickly and promptly to any information that is changing with your answers.
In most cases, the expert witness is sent all relevant reports and witness statements about the case to compile them for their detailed report for the court.
Also, they will hear all the evidence before they give their report to ensure they have considered all aspects and information for the case.
Within Scotland, the rules are a little bit different for expert witnesses. In Scotland, expert witnesses are not allowed to hear any evidence other expert witnesses have provided until they have provided their evidence.
When is an expert witness used?
Expert witnesses are in high demand for court cases and a variety of cases. Some cases could include personal injury or medical negligence and sometimes cases which include defective products allegedly. Expert witnesses are sometimes forensic accountants and are often relied upon with divorce or intellectual property disagreements.
In this case, they may require an expert witness to determine whether any infringement for the parties trademark, copyright or patent. They will also provide why they came to the conclusion that they did.
In some cases, a judge will request some help from expert witnesses to assist the court in evaluating issues or to acquire more knowledge for the current subject to attain a better understanding and a proper result.
With that being said, no expert witnesses evidence can be supplied or used without permission from the court.
What is the role of an expert witness?
The expert witness has a few roles. Under CPR or Civil Procedure Rules, the expert witness, regardless of who is paying for their time, must be independent on their evidence and address their expert report to the court which has jurisdiction over the case in question.
The CPR only applies to courts which are within England and Wales.
In some instances, both parties can have joint pay for the expert witness, saving money for both parties instead of paying for separate expert witnesses.
However, the parties much decide between them who will be instructed for the witness stand and evidence.
The duty of the expert witnesses are mainly towards the court and provide them with as much expertise and knowledge as possible. Your duty to the court overrides any obligations to the party who instructed the expert witness. As expert witnesses, they must have a high sense of honesty and integrity.
Committing perjury or providing false statements within the court or in documents you provided them is treated as a serious crime by the courts.
As such, any expert witness that is to be used for the court and provide evidence in the courts matters much has sufficient knowledge of the CPR, management of time limits and management of cases etc.
This means any evidence an expert witness provides must be based on factual evidence and not be biased against one side specifically to affect the court's judgement.
Are you looking for advice about hiring a property expert witness? Contact us and give us a call about any information or advice about property assessments.