What information to put in a letter of instruction to an Expert Witness
Whilst solicitors are experts in the law, it can sometimes be difficult to put the legal requirements of an assessment into language that easily translates to the requirements of an expert witness from a different professional field such as mental health. Equally it may not be immediately apparent as to what the issues are that need to be assessed. A large part of our job is working with our clients to understand and clarify what they need from a legal perspective and then match this with the skills, training and experience of our Expert Witness Psychologists.
At a very basic level an Expert Witness will need the following information to be able to proceed with an instruction:
- Your contact details, including any references you may use for the case as well as your role in the case
- Details of the person/people they are being asked to assess, including their age(s) and location(s)
- Clarification of the nature of the proceedings e.g. Criminal or Care proceedings and whether it is a single or joint instruction
- A brief background of the case/client, outlining any charges (in criminal proceedings) or reasons for the assessment
- Clear instructions as to what questions you would like the Expert Witness report to address
- Details of any documents that you would like the Expert to consider as part of their report
- The deadline by when you need to receive the report
- Details of any court/tribunal dates the expert will be expected to be available for (if known)
- Who is responsible for the Expert’s fees
CLICK HERE to download a copy of our “Example letter of instruction for an Expert Witness”.
This template is drawn from our years of experience and hundreds of reports, dealing with both solicitors and expert witnesses. We hope it will help ensure that experts can clearly understand what is required of them and deliver a report that meets the solicitor & court’s requirements.