Admissibility of Expert Evidence Workshop Presented by Malcolm Simmons

Admissibility of Expert Evidence Workshop
Presented by Malcolm Simmons
London & Belgrade October 2018

What delegates said about Malcolm Simmons?

“An extremely informative training delivered by a very knowledgeable trainer”
Circuit Judge, England
“A leader in judicial training”
                                                District Court Judge, Serbia
                “An excellent training that was extremely informative”
                                                High Court Judge, Serbia

The role of the expert is to assist the court make its decision.
English textbooks often quote the succinct statement on the function of expert witnesses that Lord President Cooper gave in the Scottish case of Davie v Magistrates of Edinburgh, where he said:

“Their duty is to furnish the judge with the necessary scientific criteria for testing the accuracy of their conclusions, so as to enable the judge or jury to form their own independent judgment by the application of these criteria to the facts proved in evidence.”

The Lord President emphasised the court’s independent judgement. The court is not bound by the view of the expert.

That statement is written with a focus on the role of the expert in giving opinion evidence.  However, one can distinguish between different categories of such evidence:

§  Expert evidence of opinion, upon facts adduced before the court;

§  Explicatory evidence - that is expert evidence to explain technical subjects or the meaning of technical words;

§  Evidence of fact, given by an expert, the observation, comprehension and description of which require expertise, if it is relevant to a fact in issue;

§  Evidence of fact, given by an expert, which does not require expertise for its observation, comprehension and description, but which is a necessary preliminary to the giving of evidence in the other four categories;

Admissible hearsay of a specialist nature. The reliance of an expert on, for example, medical textbooks and scientific works, or on the product of scientific teamwork, or on what a patient has told him or her, or on the opinions and reports of other experts who are not called as witnesses, means that hearsay evidence plays a much larger role in expert evidence than it does in the evidence of a non-expert witness. In order to give expert evidence an expert will often have to draw on reading materials within his or her discipline.


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