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Identifying the right expert witness

Identifying the right expert witness and drilling them as to what will be expected are crucial precursors to having them take the stand and satisfy a judge, argues Gerard Khoshnaw

The art of choosing, instructing and managing experts is often underestimated and given insufficient attention and focus.

Property disputes that result in litigation can often hinge upon the credibility of your chosen expert, as well as their ability to simplify and explain cogently complex issues in plain English and demonstrate a reasoned approach in dismantling opposing views without dogmatism and intransigence.

So what issues should be considered when expert evidence is required and how should lawyers approach achieving their aims?

Identifying the field of expertise required is not always simple. Specific experience and expertise of the key issues in your case should be identified. If it does not exist, choose someone else. If in doubt, explain to the proposed expert the experience you require and how they would feel being cross-examined in the witness box by your opponent’s counsel on the key issues. A range of CVs should be obtained and assessed carefully. Check how long the expert has been qualified in their field of expertise. Ask who has instructed them recently and whether you can contact that person for a view on their performance. Do they have any testimonials they can point to?

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