Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 12
The agenda will be drawn up by the solicitors,
sometimes into one agreed list, sometimes two separate ones. There will be no solicitors present at the
meeting; it is entirely between you and the other expert. Do not set aside your professional obligations.
You must not mention anything you know about the
progress or strategy of the case to the other expert.
The best advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Read
your report, the report of your opposite number and
your joint statement. Be familiar with the medical
records and the Court documents; including Particulars of Claim, Defence, Schedule of Loss, and witness
Try to be in Court for as much of the trial as possible
so that you can observe the Court etiquette and perhaps see others taking the stand before you do. It will
give you an insight into how the barristers put their
questions, and hopefully help you feel more confident
about what to do when it is your turn!
You should review the agenda prior to the meeting.
Consider your answer to each question, and make a
note. Regardless of whether you meet in person or by
video or audio call, you must treat this as a work commitment. Do not be rushed or distracted by external
domestic or professional events, and be sure to give it
your full attention.
When it is your turn, stay calm. Listen to what you
have been asked, answer with reference to your report, where possible, and state clearly if you think you
are being asked to answer something that falls outside
of your area of expertise. Do not make submissions,
but do give your opinion. Your role is to inform the
Court to the best of your ability, enabling the Judge to
come to a decision.
Taking a good note of your discussion is really important, even if you are not the scribe for the meeting.
The joint statement must accurately represent and explain your position, regardless of whether you agree
or disagree with the other expert. Use your notes
when you review the joint statement and be absolutely
sure that you fully agree with the answers attributed to
you before you sign the document.
The expert’s duty is to the Court, and good practice
in discharging this duty is essential. The expert is integral in identifying, narrowing and explaining the
key issues in a case so that justice can be done.
Giving Evidence in Court
Some clinical negligence cases do get this far. Always
work on the basis that yours might reach Court. If
asked, could you explain your opinion clearly to the
Judge and, if challenged, could you respond calmly
EXPERT WITNESS JOURNAL
To find out more about Inspire MediLaw, the
upcoming conferences for expert witnesses, and other
course dates for, visit their website at
O C TO B E R 2 0 2 1