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Meetings between Experts

In instances where there are separate Expert Witnesses, Experts’ Meetings are held to seek to identify and where appropriate agree key points, narrow the issues, and summarise reasons for any disagreements.  The parties should seek to agree an agenda but if that is not possible then each party should submit an agenda.  It is important to ensure that the Expert Witness is aware that there is no obligation for them to agree anything but in relation to matters on which they do not agree they should specify why. 

Ask the Expert Witnesses to provide a concise joint statement after the meetings. Many judges will often look at the joint statement before they read the main report. It’s an important document because if it is well drafted it will bring focus on the key issues.

In civil matters, solicitors or instructing parties are not permitted to attend the meeting of Expert Witnesses. Nor should they become involved in the drafting of the joint statement. This has recently been reinforced by the guidance from the High Court King’s Bench Division which states at paragraph 10.48:

“Whilst the parties’ legal advisers may assist in identifying issues which the joint statement should address, those legal advisers must not be involved in either negotiating or drafting the experts’ joint statement. Legal advisers should only invite the experts to consider amending any draft joint statement in exceptional circumstances where there are serious concerns that the court may misunderstand or be misled by the terms of that joint statement. Any such concern should be raised with all experts involved in the joint statement.” 

In criminal matters the solicitors may sometimes attend the joint statement meeting but their input is very limited, essentially to answer questions about the law.