Trying to find an expert witness is not always straightforward but choosing the right expert could make all the difference to your case.

When you need to find an expert witness it can help to know what attributes to look out for. In this post, we have listed our top 10 tips for what to look out for when you need to find an Expert Witness.

1) Experience

An expert witness may only provide an opinion if they are considered an expert in their field. Make sure the expert has sufficient experience to see your client. You should not feel awkward about asking about the expert’s experience. A reliable expert witness will be ready to tell you if they are not the right expert for the case. It’s worth looking into the number of medicolegal reports that the expert has prepared – this information should be readily available to you when you’re searching to hire an expert witness.

2) Expertise

This follows on from experience, but the expert must be credible to provide an expert opinion in legal proceedings. Their opinion must be based on the available facts and their opinion must stand up to scrutiny.

Expert Court Reports offers a number of different expert witness services and can provide an expert to consider the following:

– Personality disorders
– Schizophrenia and delusional disorders
– Mood disorders (depression, bipolar affective disorder and persistent affective disorders such as cyclothymia and dysthymia)
– Neurotic and stress-related disorders (including phobic anxiety disorders, panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress reactions, post-traumatic stress disorder and adjustment disorder)
– Dissociative and somatoform disorders (e.g. dissociative motor disorders and somatisation disorder)

3) Qualifications

A medical expert witness or any other type of expert witness must hold the relevant qualifications.  If you are instructing a psychiatrist, they should be working at consultant grade, be a member or fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and be approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended in 2007. Read our post on What Qualifies Somebody to be an Expert Witness for more information about the requirements for an expert witness.

4) Additional Skills

Depending on the nature of the case and the requirements of the client, you may need somebody with additional skills.  You may need someone who speaks an additional language.  Some clients may only feel comfortable seeing a female expert; in other cases, a male expert may be required.

In some cases, very specialist skills may be required.  For example, you may need an expert who can communicate with sign language. Here at Expert Court Reports, we will always try to accommodate your specific requirements but the team will be happy to suggest other experts if needed.

5) Instructions

An expert witness should be able to demonstrate the proportion of instructions they have had from each party. For example, with civil cases, what percentage of instructions were undertaken for the claimant compared to the defendant?

6) Legal Aid

If your client’s legal costs are funded by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), you will need to find an expert who is able to commit to LAA rates.  Our experts at Expert Court Reports are able to provide their services within the allowances of the LAA. Although most criminal cases are funded through the LAA, Expert Court Reports can undertake privately-funded cases providing that they are arranged through the instructing solicitor.

7) Travel

This could be an important factor – before hiring an expert witness, find out if they are able to travel to conduct the assessment? In many cases, a client may not be able to travel to see the expert if they are elderly or disabled. Some may also be in prison and require an expert to conduct the assessment there.

8) Dates

If you have warned dates for trial, you may need to find an expert witness who is able to commit to those dates before you decide which expert to instruct.

9) Reputation

An expert’s reputation is important. In many cases, you may know of an expert’s reputation through word of mouth. For experts who are known to you, it is important that you feel able to ask for testimonials or customer feedback.

10) Curriculum Vitae

When you find an expert witness, it perfectly acceptable to request a copy of the expert’s CV. Dr Iles’ CV and Dr Attard’s CV can be requested by completing the short form via the link below.