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Expert witnesses are not getting a fair deal from legal aid

The MoJ must make urgent changes to fee rates and case management if it expects to rely on qualified and experienced experts to advise the courts, argues Richard Emery

16 February 2016

In response to a 'widespread feeling
[among the judiciary] of not being valued
or appreciated for their work', the Ministry
of Justice (MoJ) has awarded top judges a pay rise that is six times the rate of inflation because 'the evidence available suggests that there is an emerging problem with recruitment and retention'.

So what, we must ask, is the MoJ doing about the growing concerns regarding the availability
of suitably qualified and experienced expert witnesses, who, like High Court judges, need to develop their expertise over many years?

I suggest that the MoJ needs to urgently consider four keys issues if we are to avoid the serious problems that will occur if our well-paid judges are no longer able to rely on suitably qualified and experienced experts to advise them on matters that neither they nor the jury can hope to understand without o...

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