JUDGE FINDS PROCESS BY WHICH EXPERT REPORT OBTAINED “SO FLAWED, AND THE MATERIAL ON WHICH IT IS BASED SO LIMITED AND CONJECTURAL THAT IT WOULD BE ENTIRELY WRONG FOR ME TO PLACE ANY WEIGHT ON IT WHATSOVER”
In de Renee v Galbraith-Marten  EWFC 118 Mr Justice Mostyn commented on an expert report that one of the parties sought to introduce. The report had been obtained in breach of the rules. It did not comply with the rules relating to expert reports. It carried no weight at all.
“It is basic, if you are going to put forward an expert’s report, that it must be objective. And objectivity requires, where there are lacunae, that clarification is sought from the other party before going into print. This obligation applies just as fully to an application where permission is needed as to one where it is not.”
WEBINAR ON EXPERT EVIDENCE IN THE COURTS 2022: 14th DECEMBER 2022
This webinar looks at decisions over the previous 12 months and the lessons that litigators and experts must learn from them. The review includes cases where expert evidence has been disallowed, because of conduct by the expert or lawyers. Costs orders against experts and actions where experts have been compelled to disclose all the material relied on. The review looks across all areas of practice and is of relevance to all litigators and expert witnesses alike.
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The judge was hearing several applications in the course of a long-running family proceedings. One of the parties, the mother, sought to introduce an expert report into her application.
THE JUDGMENT ON THE EXPERT REPORT
The judge observed that permission was needed to rely on an expert report in this context. Permission had not been sought. Further the expert had been shown documents that should not have been disclosed without permission of the court. Finally there were many procedural issues with the report which meant that it could not be relied upon.
Expert evidence adduced by the mother
The mother bolstered her application by filing, without permission and in direct breach of my directions order, on 22 September 2022 a further 25 page statement which included a forensic report by Sid Harding of SRH Forensics LLP. The mother is a highly seasoned litigant-in-person and I have no doubt was well aware that her tactic of filing a further witness statement in breach of my order exhibiting an expert’s report for which permission had not been obtained, was completely illicit. The mother strongly asserted that she was unaware of the statutory rule. I pointed out that if you Google “expert evidence in children proceedings” the very first thing that appears is a statement of the statutory rule.