Last week The Times and Bond Solon released the findings from their annual Expert Witness Survey (2018)
The Expert Witness Survey findings showed that we are not alone in coming across experts giving opinions on issues beyond their area of expertise.
We have encountered a variety of expert reports over the past 12 months which ranged from incomprehensible novels opining on factual matters to reports setting out losses with no explanation at all for the basis of calculation. Thankfully we have also seen some very high quality reports with opinions well thought out and soundly argued.
The survey reports that in the past year a quarter of experts felt under pressure to change their evidence. While the survey considers experts from all fields (not just accountancy experts), we are surprised at the high proportion.
Whilst the findings do not indicate whether the experts did change their opinion, this finding is an important reminder that, if experts can’t stand the heat (and stick to their guns), they should get out of the kitchen, or risk presenting themselves as a “hired gun”.
In our experience instructing solicitors may challenge our opinions, no doubt to ensure they are robust, but we have never been put under pressure to change our opinions. We are more likely to be put under pressure to give an opinion on something outside our expertise, having recently been asked to opine on property valuations, whether or not funding would have been provided by a bank and whether or not the property from which it operated was suitable for the business under review…