An expert witness or judicial expert is a witness, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, is believed to have expertise and specialised knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person.
This knowledge is sufficient that others may officially and legally rely upon the witness’s specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of his expertise, referred to as the expert opinion.
Expert witnesses may also deliver expert evidence about facts from the domain of their expertise.
In England and Wales, under the Civil Procedure Rules, the Criminal Procedure Roles, and the Family Procedure Rules an expert witness is required to be independent and address his or her expert report to the court.
A witness may be jointly instructed by both sides if the parties agree to this, especially in cases where the liability is relatively small.
Experts charge a professional fee which is paid by the party commissioning the report (both parties for joint instructions) although the report is addressed to the court. The fee must not be contingent on the outcome of the case.
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