Duties of experts

(01/14/2013)

Duties of experts as described in Wikipedia.

In England and Wales, under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR), an expert witness is required to be independent and address his or her expert report to the court. A witness may be jointly instructed by both sides if the parties agree to this, especially in cases where the liability is relatively small.

Under the CPR, expert witnesses are usually instructed to produce a joint statement detailing points of agreement and disagreement to assist the court or tribunal. The meeting is held quite independently of instructing lawyers, and often assists in resolution of a case, especially if the experts review and modify their opinions. When this happens, substantial trial costs can be saved when the parties to a dispute agree to a settlement. In most systems, the trial (or the procedure) can be suspended in order to allow the experts to study the case and produce their results. More frequently, meetings of experts occur before trial.

Experts charge a professional fee which is paid by the party commissioning the report (both parties for joint instructions) although the report is addressed to the court. The fee must not be contingent on the outcome of the case. Expert witnesses may be subpoenaed (issued with a witness summons), although this is normally a formality to avoid court date clashes.

In the United States, under the Federal Rule of Evidence 702 (FRE), an expert witness must be qualified on the topic of testimony. In determining the qualifications of the expert, the FRE requires the expert have specialized education, training, or practical experience in the subject matter relating to the case. The expert's testimony must be based on facts in evidence, and should offer opinion about the causation or correlation to the evidence in drawing a conclusion.

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