Related Sector: Expert Witness
On 6 November we asked experts attending our Expert Witness Conference to complete the annual survey. 191 delegates, just over half of those attending, responded. View the full results.
- Nearly half the experts reported an increase in the number of instructions received over the past 12 months. This trend goes against the intention of the courts to limit expert evidence to speed proceedings and reduce costs.
- Rates for civil experts are some 50% higher than in criminal matters.
- Experts do not appear to think they have a sell by date.
- Most experts would like some form of mandatory accreditation to improve standards however this is expensive to implement.
- Most experts do not like the idea of randomised selection of experts as has been started by MedCo in whiplash cases (www.medco.org.uk)
- Still a large proportion of experts have had bad experiences that have led them to refuse to work with certain people
If you have any comments to add, please leave them below.
For previous Bond Solon expert witness surveys:
Expert Witness Survey 2014
Expert Witness Survey 2013
Expert Witness Survey 2012
Expert Witness Survey 2011
Expert Witness Survey 2010
18 Nov 2015 18:47
I was not able to attend your conference this year but was interested and pleased to read the results of your survey.
It confirms my own experience and observations, especially:
Serious difficulty in getting some, not all, solicitors to pay.
A minority of lawyers attempting to manipulate or modify my objective opinion.
I was reassured that fees I charge are well within the usual range for reports by medical specialists.
One needs a good reason for taking on criminal cases because they are poorly rewarded compared with civil cases and the CPS is a very slow payer in my experience.
Dr Peter Galgut - Expert Witness: Dento-Legal
22 Nov 2015 01:21
I note the statement in the survey, not for the 1st time and doubtless not for the last time, states that: " Most experts would like some form of mandatory accreditation to improve standards however this is expensive to implement ".
I wish to place on record that in my opinion this would be a disastrous mistake. It would do absolutely nothing to improve the difficulties surrounding expert witnesses, their evidence, and their role in judicial proceedings. All it will do is to create a bureaucratic quango motivated by self-interest and very often bureaucratic ignorance rather than improving the situation that we currently have. This has been the experience with many other professional regulators, of which my regulator, the General Dental Council, has recently been vilified by their regulator (the Professional Standards Committee) being awarded only 2 out of 10 points against the standards set by the regulator. Their performance has been so bad that they were called before a Parliamentary Health Committee to explain themselves and were left in no doubt that their performance was nothing more than abysmal. This is not a unique situation amongst professional regulators although it has to be said that the General Dental Council seem to be worse than most. Is this really what we want to impose on experts? And what purpose will it serve? In my opinion nothing more than a nihilistic waste of time and money and resources for everyone concerned.
May I make an alternative suggestion? In one of the recent reviews of the CPR, a clause was introduced that effectively regulates expert witnesses and the solicitors who instruct them. Essentially expert witnesses can suffer punitive consequences, as well as the instructing solicitors, if they act irresponsibly and do not take their responsibilities to the court seriously. This clause remains part of the CPR, but unfortunately it is ineffective in its current form. This is because it can only be enforced by the court at a trial. As the overwhelming majority of cases are settled out of court, this clause is impotent to deal with the majority of offenders that it was designed to neutralise. Therefore, I would like to suggest a system is that based on that clause. A complaints procedure, directly to the courts could be created to receive complaints from complainants, defendants, expert witnesses, or dental professionals and to consider these complaints and adjudicate as to their veracity and to take action to rectify or eliminate the causes for complaint when this is found to be necessary. It may be necessary even set up some kind of tribunal, possibly modelled on the employment tribunal system to deal with these matters in a consistent and formal manner.
In my opinion, such as system would ensure that miscreants and irresponsible expert witnesses are dealt with, without imposing a huge burden of bureaucracy on the majority of expert witnesses who go about their business in a responsible and highly professional manner.
I hope that you will give this suggestion your due consideration,
Dr Peter Galgut
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