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Trust the experts

Recent judgments containing damning criticism of expert evidence provide a useful reminder of the duties experts owe to the court, write Kirsten Wall and Leila Grove

2 August 2017

Litigation involving complex and specialist services often turns on evidence supplied by expert witnesses. This is particularly true of clinical negligence claims in which medical experts advise the court on matters of clinical practice. Cases often only settle once expert evidence has been exchanged and the strength of the medical experts’ arguments can be assessed.

When a case goes to trial, as is happening more and more in clinical negligence cases, the judge’s assessment of the experts’ evidence can be fundamental to the success, or otherwise, of the party instructing them. Over the last few years we are seeing an increasing number of cases where the judge is nothing less than scathing about the medical experts.

Given how central medical experts are to clinical negligence practice, and, let’s be honest, how much their fees can be, this is an issue...

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