Not so expert after all!
Football fans are used to chanting at referees: “You don’t know what you’re doing”. Recently, a version of this happened in court to an expert witness.
In January 2020, in Thimmaya v Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust
, Her Honour Judge Claire Evans ordered a medical expert to pay a significant proportion of the defendant’s costs once the claimant dropped her clinical negligence claim after her expert was unable to articulate the legal test for breach of duty at trial.
This is a highly unusual case in which the Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust, which was the Defendant to clinical negligence proceedings brought by Mrs Samantha Thimmaya, sought a third party costs order against Mr Jamil, Consultant Spinal Surgeon, who was the Claimant’s expert witness in those proceedings. In the course of being cross-examined at the trial the judge determined that Mr Jamil was wholly unable to articulate the test to be applied in determining breach of duty in a clinical negligence case. He was given a number of opportunities to explain it; he was asked the question in different ways; that did not assist him. In the end, he stated that he did not know the test to be applied. The Claimant then had no real choice but to discontinue her claim, he being the only expert upon whom she relied.
The judge was careful to say that such third-party costs orders should be made only in exceptional cases. (The Third Party Costs Application here
describes the unusual circumstances in this case.)
Nonetheless, this ruling highlights how important it is for experts to know what they are talking about, and for them to remember, at all times, that their overriding duty is to the court, and not to those instructing them.
Griffin Law is a dispute resolution firm comprising innovative, proactive, tenacious and commercially-minded lawyers. We pride ourselves on our close client relationships, which are uniquely enhanced by our transparent fee guarantee and a commitment to share the risks of litigation. If you have any specific questions regarding a dispute, please email email@example.com or call 01732 52 59 23.
GRIFFIN LAW – TRANSPARENT FEES. TENACIOUS LAWYERS. TRUSTED PARTNERS.
© Griffin Law Limited, 2022. All rights reserved. Nothing in this document constitutes any form of legal advice upon which any person can place any form of reliance of any kind whatsoever. We expressly disclaim, and you hereby irrevocably agree to waive, all or any liability of any kind whatsoever, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, to you or any other person who may read or otherwise come to learn of anything covered or referred to in this document. In the event that you wish to take any action in connection with the subject matter of this document, you should obtain legal advice before doing so.
Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!