Expert Witness Declarations in Criminal Proceedings for England & Wales
All professionals acting as Expert Witnesses as part of Criminal Proceedings in England & Wales are expected to have read and understood the declarations outlined below. They detail your obligations as an important participant in the proceedings and should also be inserted between the end of the report and the your signature. In doing this you are confirming that you understand and comply with the points outlined and any additional reading (such as point 12 below).
The version below applies from 3rd April 2017.
I (Insert Full Name) DECLARE THAT:
- I understand that my duty is to help the court to achieve the overriding objective by giving independent assistance by way of objective, unbiased opinion on matters within my expertise, both in preparing reports and giving oral evidence. I understand that this duty overrides any obligation to the party by whom I am engaged or the person who has paid or is liable to pay me. I confirm that I have complied with and will continue to comply with that duty.
- I confirm that I have not entered into any arrangement where the amount or payment of my fees is in any way dependent on the outcome of the case.
- I know of no conflict of interest of any kind, other than any which I have disclosed in my report.
- I do not consider that any interest which I have disclosed affects my suitability as an expert witness on any issues on which I have given evidence.
- I will advise the party by whom I am instructed if, between the date of my report and the trial, there is any change in circumstances which affect my answers to points 3 and 4 above.
- I have shown the sources of all information I have used.
- I have exercised reasonable care and skill in order to be accurate and complete in preparing this report.
- I have endeavoured to include in my report those matters, of which I have knowledge or of which I have been made aware, that might adversely affect the validity of my opinion. I have clearly stated any qualifications to my opinion.
- I have not, without forming an independent view, included or excluded anything which has been suggested to me by others including my instructing lawyers.
- I will notify those instructing me immediately and confirm in writing if for any reason my existing report requires any correction or qualification.
- I understand that:
– my report will form the evidence to be given under oath or affirmation;
– the court may at any stage direct a discussion to take place between experts;
– the court may direct that, following a discussion between the experts, a statement should be prepared showing those issues which are agreed and those issues which are not agreed, together with the reasons;
– I may be required to attend court to be cross-examined on my report by a cross-examiner assisted by an expert.
– I am likely to be the subject of public adverse criticism by the judge if the Court concludes that I have not taken reasonable care in trying to meet the standards set out above.
- I have read Part 19 of the Criminal Procedure rules and I have complied with its requirements.
- I confirm that I have acted in accordance with the code of practice or conduct for experts of my discipline, namely [identify the code]*.
- [For Experts instructed by the Prosecution only] I confirm that I have read guidance contained in a booklet known as Disclosure: Experts’ Evidence and Unused Material which details my role and documents my responsibilities, in relation to disclosure as an expert witness. I have followed the guidance and recognise the continuing nature of my responsibilities of revelation. In accordance with my duties of disclosure, as documented in the guidance booklet, I confirm that:
– I have complied with my duties to record, retain and reveal material in accordance with the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996, as amended;
– I have compiled an Index of all material. I will ensure that the Index is updated in the event I am provided with or generate additional material;
– in the event my opinion changes on any material issue, I will inform the investigating officer, as soon as reasonably practicable and give reasons.
STATEMENT OF TRUTH
I confirm that the contents of this report are true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I make this report knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I would be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated anything which I know to be false or that I do not believe to be true.
*Explanation of Codes of Practice & Conduct
Which Code(s) should I refer to in point 13 above?
Many professions have specific codes of practice related to undertaking work as an Expert Witness and this is what should be quoted in this section. For example, Psychologists should refer to “The British Psychological Society’s report, Psychologists as Expert Witnesses – Guidelines and Procedures for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – 24/11/16“.
CLICK HERE to go to the BPS report which is intended to provide guidance and clarification for psychologists who are called on to act as an expert witness.
It may also be worth considering including details of the code, or a link to them in the Appendix of your report.