ExpertsDirect hosts biannual training days to provide opportunities for experts to improve their skills as expert witnesses. Experts at all stages of their career are encouraged to attend and sharpen their knowledge of the expert witness process, from assisting their briefing solicitors through to the ins and outs of cross examination. This training day is one of the ways in which ExpertsDirect supports experts in producing high quality reports.
Our first session was presented by Mr Gavin Stuart, head of the Commercial Disputes team at Bartier Perry. Gavin walked our attendees through the basics of expert evidence, explaining the Expert Witness Code of Conduct and the admissibility of expert opinion. Gavin illustrated the expert’s role in litigation and provided practical advice on how best to assist an instructing solicitor in getting the best out of an expert. Gavin also alerted our experts to the dangers of blurring the line between expert and advocate and made clear the limits of expert immunity.
In our second session, experts were asked to consider the form of their reports by Ms Narelle Bell, a legal reasoning and writing lawyer who was previously a Senior Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Narelle highlighted the importance of writing a concise expert report to assist the court in understanding the matter. Narelle demonstrated the value of using accessible language and the importance of avoiding technical jargon whenever possible. Our experts were guided on how to structure their reports and shown what a high-quality report should look like. Mr David Marston – one of exclusive panel experts and a highly experienced expert mechanic – also spoke during this session about the support ExpertsDirect provides throughout this process.
Our final speaker was Mr James Foley, Barrister at St James Hall Chambers. James explained to our experts what to expect when giving evidence in court. The day came to an exciting conclusion with a mock cross-examination of two brave experts who volunteered to assist James in his demonstration.
These days are highly valued by our experts, and we urge experts from all levels of experience to come along to a future training day and continue their professional development.
By Jessica Sheridan