Chapter 6 : Duties of the Expert Witness

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It is important for an expert witness to maintain a professional relationship with his client-attorney. The expert witness should avoid becoming an advocate and instead should function as an advisor to the client-attorney. The expert witness is being paid to present scientific facts and interpret them to the court utilizing his training, experience, research, and possibly experimental results. The expert should record the date on which documents were received from the client-attorney and date phone calls, other notes, and documents he develops. The expert may be required to testify to the chain of custody, i.e., that the notes have never left his possession and have not been viewed by anyone other than the client-attorney. The expert should educate the client-attorney by familiarizing him with the significance and implications of the expert testimony. At times, the expert may suggest case strategy, but he must not stray into the area of advocacy. In some instances it may be obvious to the expert that there is no basis for litigation, and he should advise the client-attorney of this opinion. The single most important characteristic of the expert witness must be truthfulness. The crime of lying or misrepresentation of testimony is perjury. A conviction for perjury puts an end to any future assignments as an expert. All information obtained from the client-attorney must be regarded as confidential. At the conclusion of the case all documents must either be returned to the client-attorney or destroyed.

Citation: Ellner P. 2006. Duties of the Expert Witness, p 19-21. In The Biomedical Scientist as Expert Witness. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816520.ch6
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