Topic : An expert on Expert Witnesses
Speaker: Hugh Selby - Barrister, Advocacy & Witness Trainer
Hugh Selby is an experienced barrister, advocate and witness trainer. He has had an interest in experts and their evidence since around 1980 when he saw such evidence wasted at a jury trial in Sydney. He thought things could be improved and spent many thousands of hours between 1986 and 2019 in what he now admits was a futile effort to bring such improvement.
Lawyers, he found, usually have no interest in understanding an expert's evidence and even less in engaging with the experts. That means, too often, that for lack of competent cross-examination 'rubbish in is rubbish accepted'.
The default position is to attack the messenger rather than the message. That’s much easier and less time consuming both in preparation and in court.
Most disappointing was his experience of experts who are more than willing to forget their primary duty to the court in the quest for a quick and recurrent buck or, in criminal cases, to sell their souls to poor police investigators for the proverbial 'pat on the back'.
Hugh enjoys providing training and mentoring for experts to assist them to properly inform court and lawyers about the technical matters involved. He has provided specialist training for a generation of experts.
The Zoom presentation will cover a range of matters & questions, such as:
1 Are there substantive differences in the codes of practice that apply to experts in different jurisdictions?
2 What constitutes a ‘good’ performance by an expert in court.
3 What does the court look for in an Expert report?
4 Should a summary always be provided in an Expert report?
5 Is Expert evidence privileged and can lawyers demand a “Privileged Statement” on an expert report. What is the authority for this?
6 Can an expert contact the Instructor during a conclave for the purpose of clarifying the process or to seek direction?
7 How should an expert deal with ‘skewed’ instructions – i.e. questions posed that presuppose a cause or assume evidence to be true when it is inconclusive?
8 How has the pandemic changed the way the legal system works in ways that affect Expert evidence?
9 Will courts now accept supervised inspections that are conducted via Zoom / Teams?
10. Are lawyers obliged to guarantee payment to an Expert once they give formal instructions?
11 What are lawyers taught about expert evidence at law school / what rules apply to lawyers when they instruct an expert?
12 Can an expert volunteer additional information beyond that required to answer the question asked in court?
13 Is Expert evidence on foreseeability admissible? Engineers may have insights about what is foreseeable about a risk.
14 How do lawyers find Experts? There is often little communication between lawyers in law firms about experience with Experts.
15 How should Expert witnesses find lawyers (cold calling, via professional associations, via website searching,…) Are there dangers in Experts marketing themselves to lawyers ?
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