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Who can be an Expert Witness

There is a difference between an expert (in their field) and an Expert Witness.  There are no formal qualifications required to be able to act as an Expert Witness.  

An Expert Witness is a person who has knowledge and/or experience in a particular field that is beyond the knowledge of a layperson and who provides independent opinion evidence to the court.  

Ultimately the court decides from whom it will accept Expert Witness evidence, however unlike the witnesses of fact, the lawyer has an element of choice in selecting an Expert Witness.

Expert Witnesses should have the following qualities:

  • Good technical knowledge and experience
  • Strong written and verbal presentation skills
  • Open mindedness; being able to consider new evidence and opinions
  • Analytical; able to marshal, consider, and assess evidence from various sources
  • Confident demeanour  
  • Independence of thought

Core competencies for Expert Witnesses

The Expert Witness Institute has published a core competency framework for Expert Witnesses which sets out the attributes, knowledge, and skills that experts must develop if they wish to act as an Expert Witness. 

By appointing an Expert Witness who can demonstrate that they have had training and/or their knowledge, skills and practice across the Core Competency framework has been validated by a Professional Body, you have assurance that the Expert Witness instructed understands their role and can ultimately deliver.