GUIDANCE ON INSTRUCTING EXPERTS (1): GUIDANCE FROM THE LAWYERIST: “MUCH LIKE A COWBOY HERDING CATTLE”

Instructing expert witnesses is an important step in many actions.  The advantages, and problems, caused by experts are well known and widely reported recently.  This is one of the matters that crosses boundaries and gives rise to common problems across the world. In the first of a series on instructing experts we are looking at an  article  in the American Journal “The Lawyerist”. The article, by Kay Bauer,  contains some interesting observations on the instruction of experts.

“Much like a cowboy herding cattle, the lawyer needs to provide guidance to his retained expert witness”

TEN TIPS FOR EFFECTIVELY USING RETAINED EXPERT WITNESSES

There is much in this article that will not travel into litigation in the U.K.  The instruction of an expert is a professional to professional relationship. However, if you can overcome the cultural differences, some issues are universal.

THE PROBLEM OF  THE USELESS EXPERT

“When you retain an expert for your case, be on the lookout for two recurrent problems:
  1. The witness provides testimony that is useless either because it is excluded by the court or is unbelievable due to 
  2. :a. The witness venturing into an area beyond his realm of expertise,
    b. The witness assuming facts that are inconsistent with the evidence, or
    c. The witness relying upon insufficient or unreliable supporting data.
  3. The witness charges high fees out of proportion to the value he adds to the case or that the client cannot afford.

LOOKING AT SOME OF THE 10 POINTS

The central points that merit attention are:

  • Make certain the expert is clear on what he or she should not be doing. (Many experts range outside their area of expertise or start to give opinions on the facts of teh case).
  • Ensure the expert has all the data to form a well-grounded opinion.
  • Be certain to provide advise evidence to your expert as well as evidence that supports your position.
  • “Experts are expensive. Really good experts are usually really expensive”. Have a strategy to keep costs contained.
  • “Make sure the expert is in the loop on dates and deadlines”

Finally

All experts, no matter what their field of expertise, seem to have one thing in common – they wait to the last minute to do their work. Prevent this from happening by requesting monthly phone or email progress updates from the expert.”

 

WEBINAR ON EXPERTS 2ND JULY 2019

 

This webinar will give practitioners a sound working knowledge of the key rules and cases dealing with experts, together with practical advice on how to deal with common issues and problems arising from expert evidence, and cover:

  • The rules relating to expert evidence

  • Who is an “expert.

  • Obtaining the Court’s permission to rely on expert evidence

  • The admissibility of expert evidence

  • The lawyer’s role & interactions with the expert

  • ”Experts behaving badly” how to spot this and what to do

Details of the costs and  how to book are available here.