Maintaining independence from retainer to report writing – Part 1

Posted May 23, 2013
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On January 1, 2010, the Rules of Civil Procedure were amended following recommendations arising out of the Civil Justice Reform Project. In order to ensure independence, fairness and objectivity, expert witnesses must sign an Acknowledgement of Expert’s Duty recognizing his/her duty is to the court and not the party who has retained him.

Further, expert reports must contain specific information including, but not limited to: the instructions provided to the expert; the nature of the opinion being sought and each issue it relates to; the expert’s opinion on each issue, and, where there is a range of opinions given, a summary of the range and the reasons for the expert’s own opinion within that range; a description of the factual assumptions on which the opinion is based; a description of any research conducted by the expert that led him or her to form the opinion; and a list of every document, if any, relied on by the expert in forming the opinion.

These amendments identify the basic framework for expert evidence, however we must still seek guidance from the court in order to understand what it takes to tip the scales from being an impartial expert to a biased one.

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