Experts Witness Declaration in Family Proceedings for England & Wales
All professionals acting as Expert Witnesses as part of Family 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).
This version applies from 1st October 2014.
I [Insert Full Name] DECLARE THAT:
- I understand that my duty in providing written reports and giving evidence is to help the Court, and 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 and will continue to comply with my 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;
– questions may be put to me in writing for the purposes of clarifying my report and that my answers shall be treated as part of my report and covered by my statement of truth;
– the court may at any stage direct a discussion to take place between experts for the purpose of identifying and discussing the expert issues in the proceedings, where possible reaching an agreed opinion on those issues and identifying what action, if any, may be taken to resolve any of the outstanding issues between the parties;
– the court may direct that following a discussion between the experts that a statement should be prepared showing those issues which are agreed, and those issues which are not agreed, together with a summary of the reasons for disagreeing;
– 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 25 of the Family Procedure Rules and the accompanying practice directions and I have complied with their requirements.*
- I have acted in accordance with the [identify the code]**.
STATEMENT OF TRUTH
I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.
Explanation of Codes of Practice & Conduct
*In children proceedings add “I have complied with the Standards for Expert Witnesses in Children Proceedings in the Family Court which are set out in the Annex to Practice Direction 25B”
**Many professions have specific codes of practice related to undertaking work as an Expert Witness and this should be . 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.