As a delegate to the recent Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference, I was concerned to hear Lord Justice Goldring use the device of the ‘very concerning rumour’ he had heard, to warn expert witnesses of ‘fee padding’. Put bluntly, apparently some expert witnesses are fraudulently increasing the hours worked per case to ‘get the same fees they got before’.
I wholeheartedly agree with Lord Justice Goldring that ‘if true, that would be wholly unacceptable’. However, what is worrying is that he then concludes that this would lead to a ‘more draconian approach’ by the Legal Services Commission and ‘fixed fees’. I fail to understand the logic or the justice in this.
Surely, the LSC should investigate expert witnesses who appear to be increasing their hours fraudulently, and report those who cannot provide a credible explanation to their regulatory body and the police. Instead, it seems that the rumoured sins of the few (yet to be established) are being used to punish all expert witnesses and justify a ‘more draconian approach’.
Dr Waseem Alladin, expert witness in forensic clinical neuropsychology, clinical director, Centre for Work Stress Management, Lincolnshire