Writing Expert Reports – Advanced
Revised and Updated for the Jackson Reforms
The pace of change in the Civil Justice system shows no signs of relenting. The ongoing procedural changes are now having greater impact on the work of experts and particularly the courts’ requirements of expert evidence. Judges are now providing more judicial insight into what the court requires of expert evidence and how experts should now produce expert reports and joint statements.
Throughout the workshop, we will explore all the latest developments in expert witness work and provide you with tools and techniques to integrate these changes into your expert witness practice.
The quality of expert reports is now an essential focus for instructing lawyers. Experts who want to build and expand their practices must adjust the style of their reports to take account of the new litigation environment. Amongst the many changes, the Guidance for the Instruction of Experts in Civil Claims (2014) has introduced important requirements for the way breach of duty, causation and quantum reports are to be produced. The increasing downward pressure on the fees that can be charged for reports means that a concise and focussed report is now a necessity. We will discuss drafting strategies to respond to these changes. In addition, the attitude of the courts towards cost budgeting and the timetabling of litigation has also hardened considerably in the last 15 months, with consequential changes being required to an expert’s terms and conditions of appointment.
Over the last two years, we have continually revised and expanded our advanced expert report writing workshops to provide a complete solution for your expert report writing needs. This is essential learning for all expert witnesses.
In the morning session, Giles Eyre (9 Gough Square Chambers) will begin with a discussion of the recent changes to the Civil Justice system and the implications for expert witness practice. He will then explore the complex and difficult issues that arise when dealing with legal tests in evidence.
When facing complex issues (be these factual or technical in nature) expert reports often lack the necessary clarity on the issues that are of most concern to the lawyers, exposing the reporting expert’s lack of forensic skill. Legal tests are critical to the proper and meaningful expression of expert opinion. Those experts who can apply legal tests accurately stand out from the vast majority of expert witnesses who often struggle to apply legal tests, or simply do not apply the tests at all.
Three issues commonly arise for experts:
- the expert is unaware of which legal test to apply;
- the expert does not understand how to apply the legal test (even though the expert may be able to quote the test correctly); or
- the expert understands the test but is unsure how to apply it in complex factual situations.
Since the 'Jackson Reforms', the importance of identifying these tests at the beginning of the process of preparing the report cannot be overstated. The issues arising from a ‘list of issues direction’ will be fundamental to the litigation process and mistakes at this early stage may be costly.
We will explore a variety of legal tests that need to be applied in expert evidence and will discuss case law and how to apply these tests to a variety of simple and complex factual scenarios. What will emerge from these discussions is the need for the expert to develop a systematic and logical approach to applying legal tests in the evidence.
- Discussion of the latest updates of CPR
- Understand the importance of legal tests in evidence
- Explore the fundamental categories of legal test
- Learn how to identify the correct legal test to apply
- Apply legal tests in the evidence using a variety of simple and complex factual and technical scenarios
- Understand the thought process necessary for applying legal tests correctly when expressing expert opinion.
- Understand how to generate a list of issues prior to the production of the report.
Part 2: Achieving Excellence in Writing Expert Reports
In the afternoon session, Lynden Alexander will begin by exploring writing techniques that need to be applied in producing expert reports in response to the changes in CPR. He will demonstrate techniques that improve the clarity and reliability of expert evidence and help experts to focus on the relevant issues.
We will then look in detail at each aspect of the expert report – the factual basis, the expression of opinion and the rationale that supports it. We will explore report structures arising from a ‘list of issues direction’ and how to express clear opinions on all relevant issues.
In complex cases, experts may also have to work as part of a wider expert team, which in itself may create evidential difficulties if the communication between the experts and the lawyers is not managed effectively. We will pay particular attention to difficult evidential situations where clear drafting strategies can transform the quality of the expert evidence. This will help to enhance the reputation of the expert with the lawyers who instruct them and will be impressive to the court should the matter reach court.
- Update your skills to comply with changes in court rules
- Develop opinion writing skills for complex cases
- Understand how to deal with causation in multi-incident compensation claims
- Understand how to deal with the range of professional opinion on issues in dispute
- Learn approaches to explaining complex issues
- Explore reporting situations dealing with technical difficult issues
Benefits of Attending
- Improve your approach to the expert witness marketplace
- Receive specialist tuition on a vital area of expert reporting practice
- Learn techniques that help to clarify the issues that need to be addressed in the expert report
- Learn how to present each stage of the opinion in a logical and ordered way
- Focus on expressing opinion in difficult cases involving breach of duty, causation, damage, care and quantum
- Learn how to report on multi-incident causation claims
- Develop a coherent approach to presenting the evidence
- Understand when and how to seek guidance from instructing lawyers
- Explore difficult drafting issues that commonly arise and which experts often do not know how to resolve
- Explore writing structures that enable complex evidence to be presented clearly
- Learn grammatical and presentational strategies that improve evidence
- Understand how to write opinion evidence in multi-incident claims
Giles Eyre is a highly experienced barrister who specialises in Personal Injury litigation. He has extensive experience of advising clients pre-trial and advocating cases in court. He is a Recorder and a mediator on the CEDR Solve Lead Mediators panel. He regularly presents workshops on expert witness evidence and practice to both experts and lawyers. He is a contributing editor to two legal guides and has produced his own book on expert evidence (written with Lynden Alexander): Writing Medico-Legal Reports in Civil Claims: An Essential Guide.
Lynden is a communication skills consultant who specialises in forensic communication. Since 1996, he has trained more than 6000 expert witnesses in writing and presenting expert evidence in court and other tribunal. He trains experts involved in both civil and criminal courts and in mental health review tribunals. He also has more than ten years’ experience in training expert witnesses involved in planning appeals and highways inquiries. His book on expert evidence (written with Giles Eyre): Writing Medico-Legal Reports in Civil Claims: An Essential Guide.
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
12 Bloomsbury Square
Tel: 020 7421 7444
Terms and Conditions
All cancellations must be made no later than 21 days before the seminar/workshop date. All cancellations made more than 21 days before the seminar/workshop date will receive a refund of monies paid, less a £50+VAT administration charge per delegate.
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