Should Experts Witnesses accept privately funded cases?
One thing that we have noticed since the changes to the Legal Aid system, which meant that some parties/cases are no longer eligible for public funding, is that we are increasingly seeing a mixture of public and private funding within the same instruction. This is particularly the case in Family Law cases because one of the parties may be eligible for Legal Aid and the other not. Ethically it is of course preferable to accept such instructions where one party may be privately funding your fees, but it can be more difficult to obtain funds from private individuals if they do not pay. We would therefore recommend that you double check the funding status of all instructing parties prior to accepting an instruction and, where appropriate, agree separate terms with private payers.
Having said all of that you may not always be aware that one party is privately funding at the outset, or a Judge can order part of an assessment to be funded by an individual irrespective of whether they are entitled to Legal Aid, for example if that person has missed one or more appointments and costs have been incurred as a result. In these situations the ethical dilemma is heightened as you may already have begun the work required. In these situations you can enlist the help of the solicitor(s) involved to see if they are able to assist in ensuring your fees are paid.