What are Court Experts?
Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides the rules for the use of expert witnesses within civil claims. Part 35.3 provides that an expert’s duty is to help the court on matters within their expertise. That duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom an expert has received instructions or by whom the expert is paid. Part 35 also includes (for example) rules about the contents of an expert’s report and the conduct of experts and those instructing them. These rules include:
- experts should assist the court by providing objective, unbiased opinions on matters within their expertise, and should not assume the role of an advocate (Part 2.2);
- experts should consider all material facts, including those which might detract from their opinions (Part 2.3); and
- if, after producing a report, an expert’s view changes on any material matter, such change of view should be communicated to all the parties without delay, and when appropriate to the court (Part 2.5).
The expert witness should therefore bear in mind that as well as their overriding duty to the court, they also assume a responsibility to their client to carry out investigations with due care and skill.
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