The incompetent expert

The Bar is a good sounding board for solicitors searching for the best expert, says Nick Barraclough

06 Mar 2020

A barrister co-defending with me in a crown court trial pulled no punches when he began his cross-examination of an expert witness with this question: “Are you going to apologise for your incompetence now or at the conclusion of your evidence?”

The 30 minutes that followed was a masterclass in how to cross-examine an expert; and a masterclass in how not to give expert evidence.

It might seem obvious that any expert should be a knowledgeable and impressive witness, but the truth is some experts are better than others.

Every barrister has a tale about how they undid an expert in cross-examination, but in too many cases the experts are not sufficiently knowledgeable.

One police drugs expert recently admit...

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