Related Sector: Expert Witness
A new declaration of truth must now be used by expert witnesses producing a full report in the criminal justice system.
Chapter 7.2.13 of the Amended Criminal Practice Directions 2023 now reads as follows:
I confirm that I have complied with the code of practice or conduct for experts of my discipline, namely [identify the code], in all respects save as identified in [schedule][annexe][x] to this report. That [schedule][annexe] gives details of the action taken to mitigate any risk of error that might arise as a result.
This brings the declaration in line with requirements set out by the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR), to demonstrate compliance with the FSR’s code.
Where the expert has demonstrated full compliance, the paragraph can end with “in all respects”. However, where there has been non-compliance, the expert must provide an annexe or a schedule setting out the details of the non-compliance and of any mitigatory steps taken.
Chapter 7.2.14 of the Amended Criminal Practice Directions 2023 now reads as follows:
[For Experts instructed by the Prosecution only] I confirm that I have read the CPS Guidance for Experts on Disclosure, Unused Material and Case Management which details my role and documents my responsibilities, in relation to revelation as an expert 71 witness. I have followed the guidance and recognise the continuing nature of my responsibilities of disclosure. In accordance with my duties of disclosure, as documented in the guidance booklet, I confirm that:
(a) I have complied with my duties to record, retain and reveal material in accordance with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996, as amended;
(b) I have compiled an Index of all material. I will ensure that the Index is updated in the event I am provided with or generate additional material;
(c) in the event my opinion changes on any material issue, I will inform the investigating officer, as soon as reasonably practicable and give reasons.
This new wording refers to the CPS Guidance, which was produced in 2019 – the declaration has now been updated to take this into account.
Experts are reminded to change the wording of their declaration of truth accordingly.
Candidates for the Cardiff University Bond Solon Criminal Expert Certificate who are submitting their reports for assessment should also now use the new wording.
The full text of the Criminal Practice Directions 2023 can be found here. Chapter 7 deals with expert witnesses and 7.2.13 and 7.2.14 sets out the declaration in full.
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