Expert Evidence – Another Chapter in a Continuing Story

29th August 2013


David Bedingfield

David Bedingfield, sets the latest reforms relating to expert evidence in their historical context and considers the dilemmas which expert evidence has long presented to the courts.

Are we witnessing a sea change in the treatment and consideration of expert evidence? The most obvious aspect of the shift, of course, is the new imposition by the Family Division of the requirement that a trial judge find an expert’s evidence to be “necessary” before permitting instruction.

But an examination of the history of the use of expert evidence shows that the reforms that have been implemented over the past several years, including the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 and the new PD 25 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010, are merely part of a century-long struggle by courts to provide an answer to the problems posed by expert evidence. This new rule is, I submit, simply a further chapter in this on-going story.


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David Bedingfield