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Forensics Europe Expo: a focal point for the forensics industry

The debut edition of Forensics Europe Expo takes place 24-25 April 2013 at London’s Olympia venue. But what’s the thinking behind the show’s launch, and what can visitors expect to gain from attending? Event director Phillip Hunter provides the details.

What prompted the launch of Forensics Europe Expo?

The landscape for the forensics industry has changed considerably in recent times. Up until March 2012, the vast majority of forensic testing in the UK was done by the government’s Forensic Science Service.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 16:18


Jackson reforms: the nitty-gritty is finally published

Picture of Lord Jackson for your Expert witness storyOn 13 February the Ministry of Justice laid down in Parliament a statutory instrument which sets out the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules – often referred to as the Jackson reforms – spelling out in detail the future direction of civil justice when they come into force on 1 April.

Most of the content is what was expected. Reviewing the new rules, John Hyde wrote in the Law Society Gazette: "There are few surprises in the amended rules, and as expected changes to conditional fee agreements do not apply to insolvency-related proceedings, publication and privacy proceedings or a mesothelioma claim.

"All parties except litigants in person must file and exchange budgets by a specific date and courts can control parties' budgets if a costs management order has been made."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:38


New rules restrict experts in child care cases

Detail from medieval depiction of the Judgement of Solomon to illustrate Your Expert Witness storyRestrictions on the use of experts in family courts came into force on 31 January. It is claimed the new measures will enable child care cases are dealt with more quickly and effectively, so children and families are spared unnecessary delays and – significantly – the cost to taxpayers is reduced.

Family courts are now required to restrict expert evidence to that which is "only necessary to resolve the case" and to approve the questions that are to be put to the expert "to ensure they are focused on the determinative issues for the court".

Courts will also have to take account of specified factors before agreeing to expert witnesses reports. In care cases, those factors include the impact on the welfare of the child, the impact on the timetable for proceedings and whether the evidence which is needed is available from another source such as the local authority.

Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 17:19


APIL predicts haemorrhage of personal injury staff

Picture of a car on its roof for Your Expert Witness storyThe great majority of personal injury firms are planning to cut staff numbers in the near future unless the government pulls back from plans to reform civil litigation, according to a report in the Law Society Gazette.

It quoted a survey carried out by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) which found that 118 of the 155 firms taking part were planning to cut their workforce this year.

According to The Gazette: "The survey formed part of APIL's full response to government plans to cut fixed fees for low-value personal injury work. The new recoverable costs for RTA claims valued under £10,000 would reduce from £1,200 to £500, whilst there are also fixed fees for claims up £25,000 and employer and public liability claims, which would be dealt with by an electronic portal for the first time."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 January 2013 18:40


Apprentice solicitors on the cards from next year

Picture of Matthew Hancock for Your Expert Witness storyGraduate and post-graduate level apprenticeships will soon be available in subjects including law, accountancy and advanced engineering, following an announcement by skills minister Matthew Hancock (pictured). From next year, changes to the Specification of Apprentices Standards for England (SASE) will mean that level six and seven apprenticeships – equivalent to bachelors' and masters' degree level – are available for the first time, making vocational learning an attractive alternative to the traditional higher education route.

There are already a number of these top-level schemes in development, including in accountancy and law. BPP Law School, a subsidiary of a US private law school – is looking to develop a legal apprenticeship pathway which could be an alternative route to the legal profession and qualification as a solicitor. It is in discussion with the relevant regulatory body and sector skills council, Skills for Justice, to progress its proposals.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 December 2012 15:33