There is an increasing pressure on those working within the legal system to reduce costs and improve efficiency by working effectively. In some cases, such as soft tissue injury claims (whiplash) experts can only be selected from a list of those who have undertaken training in this area and the Forensic Science Regulator publishes a code of practice which seeks expert’s compliance with several international standards.
While some solicitors maintain a list of competent experts, gaining access to these lists requires an expert to demonstrate their competence. EWI believes that it is now becoming necessary to have a ‘professional qualification’ to show that you have the knowledge of the role of an expert and the skills to deliver a reliable report and work with opposing experts to narrow the issues and assist the court to reach a decision.
EWI will be offering Fellows and individual members of the Institute, the opportunity to become Certified Expert Witnesses with the certificate issued jointly by the EWI and the Judicial Institute of University College London. Experts who are not currently members of the EWI can also apply to become certified and upon successful completion of the programme, will automatically become full members of the Institute.
Applicants must supply a copy of their current CV, with details of those areas of expertise which a Court would recognise as being beyond the normal level of knowledge so that they may be described as an expert.
In support of the above information, applicants also need to submit a compliant report which has been anonymised so that confidentiality is preserved, together with a fee to pay for the initial assessment of the application.
If the above is found to be satisfactory, the applicant will then be placed upon a waiting list for the next stage and given an approximate date for attendance at a half-day assessment, which will normally be held on a Saturday in London.
The next stage will comprise the issue of a dummy case accompanied by a letter of instruction, upon which the expert will be asked to give an opinion in the form of a short compliant report. Each expert will be paired with another expert in the same discipline or speciality. When both reports have been received the reports will be exchanged, so that each expert can identify where their opinion differs from the other.
On the day of the assessment, the experts will meet and hold an expert meeting at which they must seek to narrow the issues and produce a statement of points agreed and not agreed, with reasons stated for any disagreement. This meeting will be witnessed by the assessors, who will mark the experts based on their performance. Independent observers will also be present to monitor the process.
Immediately following this, both experts will be led to a courtroom in which they will be examined and cross-examined by barristers in front of a judge. Again, the performance of each will be scored by the assessors and watched by independent observers.
The scores achieved at the end of the day will be discussed and moderated by the assessors before the applicants are informed of the results. All those who pass will be issued with a certificate, with
the option for this to be presented at either the EWI AGM or at the Annual Conference if they so wish.
The certificate will initially be issued against the Civil Procedure Rules, with the Criminal Procedure and Family Court following.
To register your interest in becoming a certified EWI expert witness, please contact us on
020 7936 2213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be in touch regarding the full process and details of upcoming assessment dates.
To apply for certification, please complete the application form: