Advisory expert service and expert witness service
The Expert Evidence Service embraces both an Advisory Expert Service and an Expert Witness Service and references to the Expert Evidence service apply to each of these services.
For the purpose of preparing and managing civil litigation, including handling submissions from the other party, seeking to narrow the issues, and entering negotiations to settle the case, it is often necessary for expert analysis to determine what expert evidence would be available in proceedings – where we provide assistance with this we are providing an Advisory Expert service.
The Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions, together with the Protocol for the Instruction of Experts to give Evidence in Civil Claims, apply to expert evidence which is actually produced in court proceedings – this is an Expert Witness service.
If the matter proceeds we can provide a qualified individual expert to produce a formal Expert Witness report in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules, which define the procedures which must be followed in pursuing litigation. However, the Court has to agree that each party may submit Expert Witness reports or sometimes the Court will agree to (or will itself order) the appointment of a single joint Expert Witness report. In the latter event your solicitor will have to decide in conjunction with the other party whether our expert would be acceptable to both parties – a decision on this can go either way but in our experience appointment of a single joint expert is uncommon.
Our Expert Witness report will be exchanged with the other party, who may produce their own Expert Witness report. In the event of a single joint Expert Witness report being required it will be provided to both parties. Often at this stage both the parties have a much clearer idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases and settlement negotiations are started.
Because an Expert Witness report is legally recognized as one that will help the Court reach its judgment (and is sometimes used in other legal procedures such as Arbitration) there are rules governing Expert Witness reports which are rigidly enforced, namely that:
- It is the duty of experts to help the court on matters within their expertise.
- This duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom experts have received instructions or by whom they are paid.
One of the consequences is that the cost of an Expert Witness report cannot depend in any way on the outcome of the case e.g. a contingent fee element is not possible. Although the same requirements do not apply formally to the Advisory Expert service it is the view of Congruent that the same standards should apply.