This information has been compiled to help our members who wish to enter or undertake further work in the expert witness field. It takes account of law reforms relating to the preparation of medical reports and the guidance currently available to experts in both the civil and criminal fields.
It is also acknowledged that changes have taken place in the personal injury ‘market’ which have had an impact on the way in which reports are prepared for the ‘fast track’ personal injury cases, ie those where the value of the claim is under £10,000 and which generally do not go to full trial (reference 1). Most recently, the committee agreed that the guidance should also incorporate the current position in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
While this document is aimed at doctors, it is recognised that the generic duties and responsibilities of experts (to the court) remain the same for all professions in both civil and criminal fields of litigation. The importance of adhering to both the Civil and Criminal Procedure Rules and their associated Practice Directions is emphasised.
Issues relating to the commercial aspects of running a medico-legal practice, such as obtaining work as an expert witness, the setting of fees and issues around remuneration are beyond the scope of this document. Information on these subjects should be sought through the expert witness registration/training bodies, such as those identified in section 5 (reference 2).
It is also strongly recommended that members gain relevant training before embarking on expert witness work. This will help to clarify issues such as the different requirements of criminal and civil courts; the distinction between single and joint expert witnesses and variations that may exist in law throughout the UK.
This information will be updated as and when new guidance is issued. Please note that this document is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Guide to being an expert witness (2007) PDF
Expert witness terms and conditions letter template PDF