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Expert Witness blog: 23/01/2012

Your Expert Witness blogThe sight of a stricken ship lying on its side in shallow waters is always a tragic one. When people lose their lives the tragedy is, of course, very real. So the daily story of the sinking of the Costa Concordia, with its attendant background picture of the listing vessel, ensures the tragedy stays in our minds.

Stories emerging of the events surrounding the disaster are becoming increasingly bizarre. Experts in maritime law – a subject, co-incidentally, to be covered in some depth in the next issue of Your Expert Witness magazine – have been appearing on television explaining variously whether the ship design was inherently unstable, whether the charts were wrong and latterly whether the captain was at fault in taking the course he did.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:32


Expert Witness blog 09/01/2012

Your Expert Witness blogThere are a number of issues concerning the legal profession and its expert witness support as we enter a new year - and all of them are of concern.

There is, of course, nothing more guaranteed to get lawyers on their hind legs than an attack on their fees. So when the Government put forward its proposals to curtail legal aid in certain areas - a surefire vote winner, you'd have thought - the legal profession took up the cudgels. The thing is, though, that the reforms are in outright contradiction of the cherished concept we have of a fair justice system and, according to a report published on 9 January, won't even save half the amount of money predicted. The report, Unintended Consequences: the costs of the government's legal aid reforms, is of a study carried out by King's College, London's department of management and was commissioned by the Law Society.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:34


Expert Witness blog: 29/12/2011

Your Expert Witness blogby Chris Stokes (

• I hope all readers of Your Expert Witness had a relaxing and happy Christmas, despite the doom and gloom surrounding just about everything from the economy to the state of the nation’s health. Apparently over a quarter of people currently being treated in hospital could be being looked after at home, according to Mike Farrar, the head of the NHS Confederation. He also said that next year will be a “key year” for the NHS as it begins its campaign to save £20bn by 2015.
Those of us old enough to shave can remember the Thatcher government’s attempt to shift the onus of mental health care onto the ‘community’ – that same ‘society’ whose existence her philosophy refuted. That resulted in the NHS and local authorities passing the funding parcel around and around until the music stopped – or someone got killed! The consequences of that policy are still being felt in England, certainly.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:37


First of the Your Expert Witness weekly blogs


Expert Witness blog: 16/12/2011
by Chris Stokes (

Welcome to the first of the Your Expert Witness weekly blogs. With the ‘first significant snowfall’ of the winter predicted by the BBC for Friday night - although we have seen a few flurries here in the Pennines - and bearing in mind the chaos that a few centimetres of the white stuff can cause in parts of this country, ACAS, the arbitration and conciliation service, has issued guidance to companies on employee relations in the winter ( - click on Winter Warners). The guidance covers issues such as illness and wellbeing (including the indubitable truth that depressive illnesses and the like tend to be worse in winter and must be treated with tact, as many expert witnesses in the medical field will attest), as well as problems in getting to work in bad weather and the avalanche of holiday requests many firms experience.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 13:53