In both civil and criminal cases, the opinions of the witnesses are not, in general, admissible. Witnesses are normally confined to stating the facts as they saw them, or claim to have seen them. It is then the job of the judge or jury to decide what the facts were. This often involves deciding between two or more conflicting versions. In fulfilling that role their possession or lack of understanding of the optics market is of no importance. It is their view of the witnesses, and so of the facts as they find them to have been, which matters.
However, there are many issues which the judge or jury are required to determine in our courts which are so far removed from their experience that the opinion of experts is essential if they are to arrive at a right and just decision. The court will always be judge of the facts, but the decision as to what are the proper inferences to be drawn from those facts, whether it be guilt of a crime or liability for a civil wrong, may require investigation of highly complex issues which only an expert trained in them can elucidate and explain.
In England & Wales, expert witnesses have been invited and allowed to give opinion evidence, as an exception to the normal exclusionary rule. This exception is of course a privilege which carries with it a heavy burden of responsibility. The Civil Procedure rules, now matched to a significant degree by the new Criminal Procedure Rules are designed (in the case of the Civil Rules with the added force of a detailed Practice Direction) to require and enforce a very high degree of probity and independence on the part of expert witness.
Our Senior Consultant, Patrick Myers, has produced reports forcourt purposes and for General Optical Council hearings conducted under guidelines set out in the Opticians Act 1989. Myers La Roche can assist in sorting out legal issues in the optical market due to the wide knowledge of the market.
What do you do next?
Telephone 0161 929 8389 and ask to speak to Patrick Myers for a confidential discussion. This initial discussion is free of charge. Telephone calls are recorded for quality and training purposes.
If you need our Conflict Resolution Service click here.