The Times Bond Solon Expert Witness Survey 2019

Mark Solon, Managing Director & Solicitor, Wilmington Plc, UK

The Times and Bond Solon Annual Expert Witness Survey 2019* was conducted online from 13th September 2019 to 30th September 2019. 569 experts completed the survey making it one of the largest expert witness surveys conducted in the UK. The report provides the analysis of the results from the survey. Let’s look at some of the findings. During 2019, there were several cases that exposed some expert witnesses who have not understood the basic requirements of the role of an expert witness. The survey asked if judges have the power to permanently disqualify such experts. Experts clearly want all experts to understand their role and agree that those who do not have the necessary understanding should not continue. Nearly 60% agree that judges should permanently disqualify such experts. It is so basic that an expert’s duty is to the court and not the instructing party that it seems incredible that some experts still do not understand the principle. However, some experts do not and continue to be “hired guns” as Lord Woolf memorably described them in his report, Access to Justice. Instructing solicitors also need to be cognisant of the principle as the survey found that experts continue to be asked or feel pressurised to change their report by an instructing party in a way that damages impartiality. Interestingly, 44% of respondents said they had come across experts who profess expertise in an area in which either they are not qualified or does not warrant expertise.

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United Kingdom Expert Witness Management December 2019 Vol.12, No. 49, Autumn 2019

Mark Solon

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Mark Solon is the Chairman of the Legal Division of Wilmington Plc. Mark Solon is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading experts on expert witnesses, investigatory practice, witness familiarisation and continuing professional development. He is a solicitor, a qualified Attorney at Law in California and has an MSc in Shipping Trade and Finance with distinction from the City University. He has been instrumental in improving the standard of expert evidence over the last twenty years and regularly chairs conferences of up to 500 delegates as well as speaking at many conferences. He has written numerous articles relating to evidence and several books. He has in depth knowledge of the legal and evidential issues around forensic science, emergency planning, surveillance and the work of many specialist intelligence and prosecution agencies. He frequently appears on television and radio dealing with evidential issues. He has been described by one senior expert witness under his cross-examination as “the love child of Stephen Hawking and a Rottweiler.” Mark founded Bond Solon in 1992 and the company has since grown to become the largest provider of law related training to non-lawyers.

Wilmington Plc

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Wilmington Plc turns over around £125m pa and Mark’s Legal Division includes Central Law Training in England and Wales, Scotland and Eire and provides training, conferences, professional support services and information including legal continuing professional development, expert witness training, databases, magazines and specialist reports. The Division runs around 5000 events every year.

United Kingdom Expert Witness Management December 2019 Vol.12, No. 49, Autumn 2019
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