Single joint expert or two experts?
In most straightforward cases the Civil Procedure Rules provide for a single joint expert. The Court will direct that the parties agree on the joint expert who should be instructed. Failing agreement on such a person the Court will directly appoint an expert witness.
Where a case is particularly complex each party may instruct an expert witness or expert witnesses. In such cases, the experts may have a difference of opinion but their role is not to argue the case on behalf of the client but to assist the Court in reaching a decision by providing information and opinion.
Appearances in Court
Expert witnesses may appear in Court for presentation of their report findings followed by examination and cross examination by barristers or other advocates representing the parties in the dispute. In many straightforward cases the Court would take the expert witness evidence in the form of the report without the need for a Court appearance.
Where a joint expert witness has been appointed there is provision for either, or both, parties to ask written questions of the expert witness which must be answered in writing. Should the parties be dissatisfied with the report and answers to questions they may apply to the Court for the expert witness to attend a hearing for examination and cross examination.
Prior to accepting an appointment as an expert witness the method of calculating fees is agreed. This would normally be a rate per hour of time expended. When given basic information we provide an estimate of fees based on the probable time necessary to inspect the property, peruse documents, carry out research and prepare the report. It is not possible to provide a fixed fee quotation in most cases because the time required often cannot be properly assessed.
Following submission of the expert witness report, should further information, attendance at Counsel’s conferences or attendance at Court hearings be necessary then further fees will be chargeable at the agreed rate.