18. Expert Evidence
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During litigation, experts may be called upon to give evidence in order to assist the Court in understanding complex or specialist matters.
Section 3 of the Civil Evidence Act 1972 states that an expert may be used during civil proceedings to give their opinion on any relevant matter as long as they are qualified to give such an opinion.
Under Part 35.3, the expert is under a duty to help the Court on the matters within his expertise and this overrides any other obligation including the one owed to the person instructing or paying him.
The emphasis in the CPR in dealing with cases justly and proportionately means that expert evidence can only be used if it is reasonably required.
CPR 35.4 requires the permission of the Court before expert evidence is allowed.
The court has the power to limit the amount of the expert’s fees and expenses that may be recovered from the other party.
Under CPR 35.6, expert evidence is generally expected to be given in a written report and an expert will not be expected to attend a hearing unless the interests of justice requires it.
Under CPR 35.10, an expert’s report must comply with the relevant practice direction.
The report must conclude with a statement to confirm that the expert both understands and has complied with the duty owed by them to the Court.
Single Joint Expert
Under CPR 35.7, the Court has the power to direct that parties use a single joint expert rather than engaging the services of two or more separate experts.
If the parties are unable to agree on a single expert, the Court can either choose a single expert from a list pre-prepared list or direct that an alternative manner of selection be adopted.