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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