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Choosing an Expert Witness

The ideal Expert Witness is a perfect blend of technical expertise, practical application and understanding. You’ll need to show the managing judge that your proposed 

Expert Witness is the right person for the job, so be prepared to demonstrate that they:

  • Have the right experience
  • Understand what is involved in being an expert
  • Can produce a report within the anticipated court timetable and within budget
  • Are available for the duration of the case 

It’s worth doing the legwork to establish all of this in advance. 

Tips on choosing an Expert Witness

1. Identify the type of expertise required

Determine the specific area of expertise you need for your case and narrow down your search to experts with the relevant knowledge and experience.   It can be helpful to work backwards from the question, “What’s in dispute and which type of expert can help me to prove that part of the case?”


2. Research potential experts

You may have an Expert Witness in mind from a previous case or seek a recommendation from a colleague. However, using a directory such as our Find an Expert directory (www.ewi.org.uk/directory) enables you to access experts who have had the appropriate training and whose expert witness practice has been validated. Our directory includes both individual experts and companies/agencies delivering Expert Witness reports.  As well as relevant qualifications and experience, look for those with a good reputation in their field and where possible experience as an Expert Witness.


3. Consider sending a “Willing to Act?” letter

It is often useful to ask a proposed Expert Witness to confirm that your case falls within their scope of expertise, that they have no conflict of interest and that they would be willing to act.  


4. Check for conflicts of interest

Specifically and overtly ask the Expert Witness to confirm they have no conflicts of interest that could compromise their impartiality, such as a previous relationship with another party, or a financial stake in the outcome of the case. If you find any conflicts of interest further down the line, raise them with the court as soon as possible. 


5. Assess the expert's credentials

Look into the Expert Witness’s background, including their education, professional qualifications, and experience, as well as any published work or recognition for contributions to their profession. Make sure that you ask for an up to date CV.


6. Evaluate communication skills

Consider talking to the proposed Expert Witness on the telephone so as to assess their communication skills.


7. Check references

Verify their experience and reputation. Ask colleagues/counsel for feedback on their communication skills, reliability, and ability to work effectively with legal teams.


8. Discuss and agree fees and expenses

Determine the Expert Witness's fees and expenses upfront and ensure that they are reasonable and within budget. When working out your budget, consider how long the case will take and whether the expert needs to be involved for the duration.

The court rules may put a fee cap on the cost of the Expert Witness and/or the managing judge may set a budget. If the case is funded by Legal Aid or by a Legal Expenses Insurer, get approval for the proposed fee.  Be prepared to get a comparative quote from another Expert Witness. 

Don’t assume all costs will be covered. Speak to the Expert Witness and get clarity of cost and a detailed fee estimate.

Manage expectations around payment – aim to pay within a reasonable timeframe and in line with expectations that have been agreed up front. 

Consider whether the cost of the Expert Witness will be proportionate and recoverable during the course of the case. You have to be certain you’ll be able to recover the costs and get value for money.