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Top Tips for working with an Expert Witness

We know that you are extremely busy. So we asked EWI members what would help them the most when working with lawyers so by helping them, they can help you.  

They said:

  • Be clear what you are looking for from the Expert Witness and confirm what they can actually deliver. Take the time to clearly set out your expectations.
  • Provide clear & comprehensive instructions regarding the specific request being made, including any relevant questions you would like answered by the Expert Witness before reports are prepared.
  • Ensure the instruction is devoid of legal terms and jargon so there's no room for ambiguity or interpretation of what they think it might mean.
  • Make sure you include a comprehensive but brief background to the case.
  • Provide clear time frames for report writing and Court timetable.
  • Provide all relevant evidence/documents, clearly sorted, catalogued and pages numbered, made available as soon as possible to help the Expert Witness complete their assessment. 
  • Regarding documentation, allow Expert Witness to review everything they ask for in order to form an opinion. As a general rule, Expert Witnesses should be allowed to see what they want to see, when they want to see it. But make sure there are no surprises!
  • Give clarity around what you want the Expert Witness to look at — but also try to give them leeway. Don’t try to restrict too heavily at an early stage. 
  • Keep in mind that preparing the Report may well be an iterative process between you and the Expert Witness but take care not to influence the contents of the Report in any way. Similarly, preparation for court should be a two-way conversation.  It is legitimate to ask questions aimed at clarifying the opinion of an Expert Witness, it is not legitimate to seek to influence that opinion.
  • Provide timely communications and responses.
  • Remember - most Expert Witnesses have a day job so consider this in terms of their availability