Points to consider as an expert witness
Choosing to undertake work as an Expert Witness is not always an easy decision as there are many points to consider before proceeding.
Does it match your expertise?
You should only agree to act as an Expert Witness if you have the knowledge, experience, expertise, qualifications or professional training in the precise area that is the subject of the litigation or dispute.
Cross examination in a court environment can be intimidating and your reputation as an academic can be called into question.
Once asked to testify, you are committed to remain a subject of the Court until the trial concludes. With lengthy trials, arrangements may need to be made to cover your teaching and research commitments.
Direct requests from clients
If you are asked by a client directly to act as an Expert Witness on their behalf be very wary of accepting. Situations involving party litigants (such as litigants without solicitors) should be avoided as they invariably lead to problems for the expert witness and/or the University.
Statements requested by the media
Any statements requested by the media should always be referred the University Press Office for comment.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
An Expert Witness is not immune from being sued for negligence.
You will be covered by the University’s Professional Indemnity Insurance only if your work as an expert witness is run through EI’s Consultancy Office.
Expert Witness as a private consultant
If you are undertaking work as an Expert Witness under a private consultancy arrangement, you should remember to follow the University’s Procedures for Consultancy and Service Work.
If you agree to act as an Expert Witness under a private consultancy you need to comply with the terms of section 13. In particular, you must ensure that you:
(1) Use only your home address for all contractual and other correspondence relating to the private consultancy.
(2) Include the following disclaimer in all correspondence, including publicity and advertising materials such as websites, relating to the private consultancy:
Please note that the services are provided by [insert name of member of staff] acting in a personal capacity. [insert name of member of staff] is not, and shall not be deemed to be, acting as agent or employee or representing in any way the University of Edinburgh.
Accordingly, you and your company, by accepting the services, (i) acknowledge that the University of Edinburgh has no responsibility or liability for the services and (ii) is deemed to have waived any right or entitlement to pursue or instigate any claim or action against the University of Edinburgh for any injury, loss or damage you or your company may sustain as a result of [insert name of member of staff undertaking the services for you or your company].
(3) Not use University of Edinburgh headed paper or a University address in any contractual and other correspondence relating to the private consultancy.
(4) Not use a University email account (such as one containing the domain ed.ac.uk) or University web page (such as one containing the domain ed.ac.uk) in promoting or undertaking the private consultancy.
(5) Not seek legal advice from the University’s solicitors, or the EI legal team in respect of the contractual terms of a private consultancy.
You must also ensure that, as an individual, you have appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance cover.
Head of School approval is required before undertaking any Expert Witness work.