What Expert Witnesses need from solicitors
When a solicitor first contacts an Expert Witness to see if they are able to assist with preparing a report for their client it is important to give the Expert as much information as possible to enable them to make a valued judgement. Some of these details are for practical reasons e.g. timescales, location etc, but others are crucial from the Expert’s professional perspective as they will enable them to determine if they are sufficiently qualified and experienced to undertake the case.
Below are some helpful hints as to what information an Expert Witness will find helpful from a solicitor:
1. A name or reference for the case so you both know who/what we are talking about
2. The client’s age or DOB as some psychologists and psychometric tests only work within certain age ranges
3. The client’s location, so that the Expert can work out the practicalities of undertaking the case, but also so they can calculate travel time
4. The nature of the case e.g. Care or Criminal Proceedings in the Courts, Rehabilitation following an accident etc
5. A brief history of the case e.g. Client X has been charged with assault, it is their first offence and they have a history of mental health difficulties
6. Details of any previous professional assessments that the expert may need to be aware of or refer to. This is particularly important when psychometric testing is involved as some tests cannot be repeated within a certain timeframe
7. Confirmation of any background documents (bundle in legal settings) that the expert may need to read e.g. Witness statements, Medical records etc
8. Any deadlines that need to be met e.g. Court dates.
If you can provide as much of this information as possible you should find that the expert is more able to gauge if they are a suitable professional for the case. They should also be able to confirm more accurate costings and timescales to avoid nasty surprises down the line.