expert witness

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expert witness

n. a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case. It is an exception to the rule against giving an opinion in trial, provided that the expert is qualified by evidence of his/her expertise, training and special knowledge. If the expertise is challenged, the attorney for the party calling the "expert" must make a showing of the necessary background through questions in court, and the trial judge has discretion to qualify the witness or rule he/she is not an expert, or is an expert on limited subjects. Experts are usually paid handsomely for their services and may be asked by the opposition the amount they are receiving for their work on the case. In most jurisdictions, both sides must exchange the names and addresses of proposed experts to allow pre-trial depositions. (See: expert testimony)

expert witness

in the law of evidence, a witness who is allowed to give opinion evidence as opposed to evidence of his perception. This is the case only if the witness is indeed skilled in some appropriate discipline. An exception to the usual rule of practice whereby witnesses are heard one after the other and do not hear the evidence of the preceding witness is made in relation to competing experts. The term skilled witness is favoured in Scotland.
References in periodicals archive ?
In addition, expert witnesses should have statements prepared to address any past mistakes or difficult issues that might arise when providing an opinion.
In Formal Opinion 87-354, the ABA considered an arrangement whereby a medical-legal consulting firm would provide an initial report, medical consultation, assistance with depositions and trial, and make available expert witnesses for a percentage fee, but pay the expert witness a flat fee.
The Supreme Court judges' ruling effectively removed the 400-year-old protection that gave expert witnesses immunity from suit for breach of duty whether in contract or negligence, in relation to taking part in legal proceedings.
To present a comparative perspective, Shaham sketches in chapter four the different positions of expert witnesses in various legal systems.
Expert witnesses have attracted a good deal of controversy in recent years, especially in child care and medical negligence cases.
The new tool also digs into those cases in which expert witnesses have the same or similar names and clarifies any disambiguation, she says.
Appraisers are most often retained as expert witnesses by an attorney; they can work on behalf of buyers, sellers, and public agencies or corporations at the local, state and national levels, to name a few.
He offers three basic ways expert witnesses can work with attorneys:
If we are going to collaborate with the legal system by serving as expert witnesses, otolaryngologists should recognize that there are standards to guide our behavior.
Current American Medical Association policy on medical expert witnesses states that 'the physician should not allow himself to become an advocate or a partisan in the trial [inquest proceedings].
Speight (chemical and fuels engineering, University of Utah) offers guidance for scientists and engineers who are called as expert witnesses in trials, or who are called before legislative committees at local, state, or national levels to present evidence that will lead to new regulations and laws.