On Thursday 26 May experts in all fields gathered at the ExpertsDirect Sydney office for our Expert Witness Training Program. Coming from around Australia and with diverse specialties that ranged from nursing and WHS to engineering and equine veterinary sciences, the experts participated in a full day of hands-on training and discussions.
To kick things off , solicitor Anna Walsh led the experts through the formal requirements and practical considerations of providing expert opinion for litigation. Formerly a Director and Principal at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, where she helmed the NSW and ACT Medical Negligence departments, Anna drew from case law and the expert witness code of conduct to cover topics including:
1. joint reports and expert “hot tubbing”;
2. experts’ immunity from suit; and
3. the best way to deal with instructing solicitors.
The short and sharp session also provided an introduction to identifying legal issues and framing the scope of inquiry, ensuring that all experts concluded the session with a comprehensive understanding of the basic requirements of expert witness work.
Experts were then guided by celebrated legal reasoning and writing expert, Narelle Bell, whose more than 30 years’ experience was apparent in her session on the preparation of well-reasoned expert opinion reports. Using their own previously completed reports, experts were guided through the process of identifying questions posed within their lawyer’s brief before learning how to write clear, informative introductions and executive summaries. Experts were then asked to pair up and orally summarise their reports to one another, before each penning an executive summary that Narelle then reviewed for style, conciseness, and clarity.
Finally, barrister and member of the Medico-Legal Society of NSW Lynda Young conducted a spirited afternoon session of mock cross-examinations which proved overwhelmingly popular with attendees, who praised Lynda’s enthusiasm and acuity. Experts were subject to rigorous cross-examination on the basis of their past reports, with Lynda playing the role of a relentless oppositional barrister. At the conclusion of the session, participants were advised on how to improve the clarity, efficiency, and strength of their oral testimony.
From our cumulative experience at ExpertsDirect we recognise the value and significance of reliable expert witnesses, from report writing to their conduct in Court. Not all experts are the same, and it is our goal to facilitate the opportunity for an expert to improve their reasoning and oratory skills in assisting the Court with their particular expert evidence. This is why we offer these bespoke and rigorous training courses to ensure that our clients will benefit from the knowledge that our trainers impart to our experts.
ExpertsDirect would like to thank all the experts who attended the training day and extend our utmost thanks to Anna Walsh, Narelle Bell, and Lynda Young for their generous donation of their time and skills.
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