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Setting up the relationship

If opinion evidence is needed to establish all or part of a case, having chosen the right Expert Witness, then the instructions to the Expert Witness ought to be prepared and delivered in good time.

Always remember that you will need the court’s permission to rely on expert evidence in some form or another.  In some types of case, permission may be established within a protocol or set of standard directions, but in other cases it may be necessary to make a formal application to the court for permission.

In some cases, a solicitor may instruct an Expert Witness to act as a consultant or shadow expert.  The Expert Witness’s advice is not subject to the requirements of the court rules and is not disclosed. This can put the Expert Witness in a tricky position if you do subsequently ask them to provide evidence for your case as at that point the court rules do apply and their primary duty is then to the court, not to the instructing party.


Providing a quote: what does the Expert Witness need?

Expert Witness quotes will be prescribed/calculated on a fixed cost basis, time-charge or fixed time basis and can’t be connected to the outcome of the litigation/case. The quote is normally accepted on behalf of the client by the solicitor.

Ensure you give enough detail so the Expert Witness can establish whether they are right for the case and are able to provide a quote.

To provide a quote, the Expert Witness needs to know 4 basic things:

  1. Amount of evidence to be reviewed
  2. What questions are they going to have to answer? (How many?, Complexity?)
  3. Cost of any third-party research, market data, etc
  4. Any deadline for delivery of the report

The Expert Witness will then provide their terms of engagement to the solicitor to sign and return them.