The giving of expert evidence at court is merely the culmination of all the work up to then. An expert cannot give evidence at court without the judge’s permission, and the report he writes is part of his evidence. So, normally, the expert is asked to confirm his report, and then he is immediately cross-examined by the other barrister and then re-examined by the barrister for his own side.
Giving expert evidence is a special skill, and needs extra training to become and expert witness. As an expert Chris ensures that he meets the Civil Procedure Rules requirement for experts:
It is the duty of experts to help the court on matters within their expertise.
This duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom experts have received instructions or by whom they are paid.
In the early days, he came across lots of chartered accountants who thought they could just have a go at being an expert witness, but fell short when in court.
When he served on the committee of the Forensic Group at ICAEW for 14 years, his main contribution was to help devise an accreditation scheme for experts, so that solicitors could look at a list on the ICAEW website and choose an accountant who they could be confident would how to behave in court.
He was in the first group of 25 to be accredited as a forensic accountant and expert witness, and there are still only about 100 ACAs who have reached that height, out of a total membership of 140,000 English chartered accountants.
Chris has appeared as an expert witness, in many forums from judges in chambers through County Court and High Court to Arbitrations and Public Enquiries, over 100 times in total, so the witness box does not cause him any discomfort.
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Court proceedings would have been in neither party’s interests.