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Expert witnesses - at the cutting edge

Thursday 24th September 2015 marked the 15th anniversary of the Expert Witness Institute (EWI) Annual Conference. The conference returned once more to the superb venue at Church House Conference Centre in Westminster and was by general acclaim a great success.

As always the conference was very well attended by EWI members, representatives from the legal profession, practising expert witnesses and members of the press. Your Expert Witness were proud to have been one of the event sponsors. Over 190 delegates were in attendance throughout the day, a record for the EWI conference.

The conference, expertly chaired by EWI governor, Mrs Amanda Stevens, covered a wide range of topics aimed at educating and informing the delegates. The conference paid special attention to the anniversary of the Magna Carta with the opening panel session, chaired by Michael Napier CBE QC, addressing the question 'Was Runnymede 1215 the first hot-tub?'.

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Updated guidance published on experts' fees for legal aid

On 1 April the Legal Aid Agency issued updated guidance on payments for experts in specific areas such as transcripts and translation work. The new guidance clarifies when experts can apply for prior authority in those areas, which include transcripts of judgments, translation work, communicating with clients at court and experts on foreign law.

On transcription, for example, the new guidance clarifies the position on making an application after the case has concluded:

'In some cases it will be appropriate for the legally aided party to pay for a copy of a transcript of the judgment or to contribute with other parties to such a cost. This may be where the client requires it for a possible appeal, or where the judgment and any findings are to be provided to an expert to consider in the preparation of any report or there has been a finding of fact hearing and the judgement is required as evidence later in the case.'

However, in such cases: 'Where fees are incurred after the conclusion of the proceedings in other circumstances this would need to be justified as it may not be considered a reasonable expense. A copy of the court order requesting the transcription should be provided as well as reasons why it is necessary.'

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 12:41

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New Standard for Expert Witnesses to aid the Courts

Courts rely heavily on Expert Witness evidence and opinion. To do so they must be able to accept that an Expert Witness is truly an Expert. With oral evidence being given less and less the only way that the court is able to ascertain the appropriateness of an Expert is through his or her Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Up until now the contents of Experts' CV's have been varied and sometimes more of a marketing device than something appropriate or useful to the court.

To aid the courts The Academy of Experts' Judicial Committee (itself comprised of senior judicial figures including Lord Justice Jackson the author of the Jackson Reforms) has produced a Model CV format for Expert Witnesses.

At its annual lunch and legal update seminar held at the RAF Club on Friday 30th January TAE President, Lord Saville of Newdigate, formally launched the Model Form of Expert Witness CV.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 February 2015 15:27

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Oracle Costs gives solicitors chance to air their views and win iPad Mini

Legal costs firm, Oracle Costs, is giving solicitors the chance to win an iPad Mini in return for their views on what they look for when looking at costs service providers.

The survey is aimed at partners of legal firms and asks a few short questions, after which participants qualify to enter the giveaway. There will be one winner chosen at random and announced before the end of March 2015.

The survey can be found here: svy.mk/1L4SGL2

The findings of the survey will provide Oracle Costs with valuable insight into the way solicitors choose a costs company online. This in turn, will help them to understand what information partners require during the decision process, and will allow Oracle Costs to develop their services online.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 11:44

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Contributions to the Expert Witness & legal professions recognised

The work and outstanding contributions of three well known individuals to the work of Expert Witnesses and the Legal Profession has been recognised by The Academy of Experts [TAE].

At its annual dinner held at Butcher’s Hall on Wednesday 5th November Academy President, Lord Saville of Newdigate, inducted Rt Hon Lord Woolf of Barnes and Sir Peter Cresswell as Companions of The Academy of Experts. At the same time Lord Howe of Aberavon, Lord Saville’s predecessor as Academy President was made an Honorary Fellow of The Academy of Experts. Amongst the other guests at the dinner were Minister of State for Justice, Lord Faulks QC, and the Chairman of the Bar, Nicholas Lavender QC.

Lord Woolf of Barnes
As Master of the Rolls Lord Woolf was instrumental in the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules. He has had a long and distinguished career gaining international renown and influencing the reform of civil procedure in many jurisdictions. The phrase ‘the spirit of Woolf’ has become the measure and reminder around the Common Law world of the new approach that Lord Woolf breathed into the legal world. It marked the end of the legal practice of trial by ambush and introduced the concept of level playing fields.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 November 2014 09:05

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