3PB construction barrister James Davison – together with Anne Wright of Lawrence Stephens – has re-published a guide to selecting and using an expert witness in construction claims. The guide “To be or not to be an expert witness”, which was originally published in Construction Law, provides practical guidance on selecting an expert witness, and advises witnesses how to behave once appointed.
‘The expert witness’s primary duty is to help the court and this duty overrides any duty which experts may have to those who are instructing or paying them’ (see the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) r 35.3 – ‘An Expert’s Duties’). The expert witness is not the decision maker – the role is to provide information to assist a third party – judge, arbitrator, and adjudicator – to decide a case before them. The danger of conflating the two roles has been well aired in case law. Similarly, case law on what constitutes expert evidence and what does not, and commentary on where expert evidence has gone awry, is rather too plentiful.
This excellent guide gives some background on the use of experts in construction, and provides practical pointers to both the appointment of an expert and to the expert, once retained.