EXPERTS GOING WRONG – AGAIN : THIS TIME IT HAS COST (SOMEONE) £225,000: THE WORK TURNS INTO DUST

It is rare for me to write about judgments from secondary sources.  However the judgment of Senior Master Fontaine in Patricia Andrews & Ors v Kronospan Limited [2022] EWHC 479 (QB)   is noted in two reliable sources and it is a case of considerable importance. It highlights the need for careful communications with experts and for both solicitors and experts to be fully aware of their duty to the court.

This post is based on the report in Litigation Futures here and the Clyde &  Co report available here.

 

THE CASE

The claimants are bringing a class action alleging nuisance caused by dust.  An expert is instructed on their behalf. At the joint meeting of experts stage the expert reverted to his instructing solicitors for assistance.  However those communications went far beyond typographical matters. The solicitors raised queries, some 16 in all, which made suggestions or comments on matters of substance.

THE MASTER’S ORDER

The Master revoked the order giving the claimants permission to rely on the expert in question.

“I have concluded that the serious transgressions by the claimants’ solicitors and Dr Gibson are such that the court has no confidence in Dr Gibson’s ability to act in accordance with his obligations as an expert witness.
“The basis upon which the claimants received permission to rely upon Dr Gibson as an expert witness, namely his duties under CPR 35.3, 35PD paras. 2.1 and 2.2, has been undermined.”

THE RESULT

The claimants could not rely on Dr Gibson’s report, having spent some £225,000 on the report to date.  A new expert has to be instructed.

WEBINAR ON EXPERTS AND FOR EXPERTS: 21st MARCH 2022

This case emphasises the necessity for both experts, and those who instruct them, to be fully aware of the nature of their duties to the Court. I am giving a webinar on this topic on the 21st March.

Booking details are available from julie@diversifylaw.co.uk

EXPERT EVIDENCE: KNOWING WHERE IT CAN ALL GO WRONG  – AND AVOIDING PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY OCCUR

This webinar looks at the basic rules governing expert evidence. It looks

  • 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
  • When and why experts (and those who instruct them) can go to prison.

 

The webinar also looks at

 

  • The significant Court of Appeal decision in  Griffiths -v- TUI about the contents of reports and when the court can reject the findings of experts whose reports are in evidence but unchallenged at trial
  • The judgment in Good Law Project Ltd on when a court can refuse to allow a party to rely on expert evidence when the report fails to comply with the rules of court
  • The litigant’s responsibility for experts and the “worrying trends” identified in Beattie Passive Norse Ltd.
  • The significance of the judgment inPatricia Andrews & Ors v Kronospan Limited [2022] EWHC 479 (QB) and what it means for solicitors and experts.