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U.K. Survey: Hold Experts Accountable

Expert witnesses in the United Kingdom believe that they should be held liable for their courtroom opinions and conduct, according to a report today in Legal Week Student. The finding comes from a survey of expert witnesses conducted by Bond Solon, a consulting firm that trains expert witnesses.

"Sixty percent of the 158 respondents said that experts should not be immune from action for their conduct and opinion in court, while 52% said they should be personally liable for any delays in proceedings."

The report notes that the results come as the role of expert witnesses in litigation is being called into question in a Court of Appeal trial this week.

"The General Medical Council is challenging a High Court ruling that said expert witnesses who mistakenly give flawed evidence should be immune from disciplinary action by their profession’s regulatory bodies unless requested to do so by a judge."

Bond Solon director Mark Solon said of the survey: "There is a feeling that if you hold yourself out to be an expert then the buck stops with you." But Mark Humphries, head of advocacy at Linklaters, disagreed. He told Legal Week:

"Expert witnesses are performing a role for the administration of justice, and absent some sort of improper behaviour or malice, then there is a case for immunity -- even if the opinion turns out to be false."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 13, 2006 at 01:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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