AN EXPERT’S IMPARTIALITY CAN ONLY BE STRETCHED SO FAR: THE COURTS HAVE SAID THIS TYNE AND TYNE AGAIN
I am grateful to barrister Charles Holland for sending me a copy of the decision of District Judge Meek in Endless Stretch -v- Newcastle County Council. A copy can be found in the link on this page. This case is unusual in that I am writing about a licensing decision in the Magistrates’ Court. However one of the parties introduced an expert witness. The issues with expert evidence are of universal application.
“In any court proceedings, parties can expect the evidence on which they rely to be tested and, where appropriate, robustly so. The evidence of expert or skilled witnesses, as much as any other (arguably perhaps more so) must be able to withstand that rigorous scrutiny if it is to be afforded weight and if it is to be of assistance to the Court in the way it should be. Where the evidence is found to be lacking it is likely to effect the weight that is given to it and the assistance it can provide the court particularly where the court has other conflicting evidence on which it can rely and place greater weight.”
Newcastle City Council gave planning permission for a “pop up” shopping mall in Newcastle. The appellant, Endless Stretch, appealed that decision to the Magistrates’ Court. As part of its case Endless Stretch introduced the evidence of an expert, Mr Turnham.
THE JUDGMENT ON EXPERT EVIDENCE
The District Judge gave a long and detailed judgment. This part relates to the evidence of the appellant’s expert witness.