50 per cent of expert witnesses received more instructions this year, survey finds

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26th November 2015 14:51 - Professional Services

According to a recent survey, 50 per cent of expert witnesses received more instructions in the last 12 months.50 per cent of expert witnesses received more instructions this year, survey finds

The survey of approximately 200 expert witnesses, which followed the Bond Solon conference, revealed that 47 per cent of expert witnesses were given more instructions this year, in comparison with just 13 per cent who said that their instructions had fallen.

As well as this, the research also indicated that there were conflicts between some expert witnesses and solicitors, as 49 per cent of the experts in the survey said that they would not work with some solicitors or firms in the future.

The market research discovered that experts’ biggest criticism of solicitors was late payment, with more than 50 per cent of experts claiming to have had issues with payments in the past. As well as this, some experts cited lack of updates on cases, lack of provision of relevant documents and unsatisfactory instructions as a problem they have with a solicitor.

When looking at how much experts are paid, the results revealed that the average hourly rate for report writing was £190 in civil cases, £110 in family cases and £103 in criminal cases. Many experts believe that the hourly rate has remained the same in the last 12 months, with 25 per cent saying that rates have in fact increased.

The research findings revealed that 72 per cent of experts feel that solicitors should continue to work as an expert, even after retirement.

According to Bond Solon, judges mostly want expert witnesses who are currently working in their field; however, experts say that occasionally they are prevented by their employers from offering their expert services in legal proceedings.

The experts in the survey were questioned about the problem of mandatory accreditation and random appointments to cases, especially with the creation of the MedCo programme, which forces solicitors to select from a small number of accredited experts to diagnose their clients who are suffering injuries from a suspected road accident.

Just 19 per cent said that mandatory accreditation for all experts would not improve standards, whereas, 57 per cent agreed.

The majority of the respondents said that they were against randomised selection, with 56 per cent believing that this was not a fair way of being allocated instructions.

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