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Immunity removal results in no change to the professional expert

Some experts may have been concerned regarding the recent removal of expert witness immunity. The change by the Supreme Court was influenced by the fact that the expert witness is considered to be closer to an advocate than a witness of fact.

Experts will have chosen to provide their services and undertaken their duties for a fee. Whereas witnesses of fact are not in that position. (Advocates’ immunity was removed in 2001, with no change in their roles and services).

The Court carefully considered whether experts would be dissuaded from acting as a result of the potential risk from professional negligence claims.

Obviously some experts are concerned about the changes in ruling and how it affects them, the simple answer is that it will make no difference to the professional expert.

All experts are aware that their first and overriding duty is to assist the court and if they carry out that duty in a conscientious and professional manner, then there will be no concerns arising from this judgement.

Many experts such as quantity surveyors and engineers have been open to be sued for professional negligence when carrying out their everyday professional duties. Although experts will need to be aware of their professional indemnity cover.

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