A senior member of the judiciary wants to see expert witnesses create easy-to-understand guides highlighting common ground in disputes.
Supreme Court justice Lord Hughes told the annual Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference this morning that he hoped to see experts ‘hammer out areas of frequent debate’ and set out the ’main common ground’.
He said the first ‘primer’ was currently being commissioned in the field of forensic science and its prospect in other areas ’fills me with quite a lot of enthusiasm’.
When asked in what areas of law he envisgaed primers, Hughes suggested they could be used in ‘modest’ matrimonial disputes for instance, ’where assets are the house, a modest ISA, that sort of asset [which is] suitable for a single expert’.
Hughes said the primers would not put expert witnesses out of work, as there would ‘always be disputed territory beyond the agreed minimum and there will always be litigants who need to go there’.
Expert witnesses, like lawyers, were ‘reassuringly expensive’, Hughes said. But court cases ‘all too often run out of control’.
‘Even where the depth of particular pockets are apparently unlimited, the time of the court is not,’ he warned.
‘We shall need you to work hard to cut out whatever is not absolutely essential.
‘We shall, I’m afraid, need budgets. [They are] difficult, uncomfortable, but have to be done.’