Professionals from many disciplines, businesses and industries are regularly called upon to prepare reports or to give evidence in courts, arbitrations and other hearings. Whether described as ‘expert’, ‘skilled’, or ‘specialist’ witnesses, their contribution is often crucial to the outcome of the case.
Experts can be publicly embarrassed if they are ill-prepared, or do not understand their duties to the court. Many high-profile miscarriages of justice have arisen because of the conduct of such witnesses, who have given biased evidence in favour of one party, or simply failed to understand the courts’ requirements.
Mark Tottenham, an experienced barrister and mediator, and award-winning writer on legal issues, has written this short and authoritative guide to the responsibilities of professional witnesses. Drawing on authorities throughout the English-speaking world, he outlines: the duties of an expert witness; the requirements of a written court report; how to prepare to give evidence in court; how to maintain a professional detachment from the client and instructing legal team; the involvement of expert witnesses in preparing pleadings and ‘Scott schedules’; and the role of expert witnesses in other forums such as mediations, inquests and public inquiries.