Courts rely heavily on Expert Witness evidence and opinion. To do so they must be able to accept that an Expert Witness is truly an Expert. With oral evidence being given less and less the only way that the court is able to ascertain the appropriateness of an Expert is through his or her Curriculum Vitae (CV).
Up until now the contents of Experts' CV's have been varied and sometimes more of a marketing device than something appropriate or useful to the court.
To aid the courts The Academy of Experts' Judicial Committee (itself comprised of senior judicial figures including Lord Justice Jackson the author of the Jackson Reforms) has produced a Model CV format for Expert Witnesses.
The Judicial Committee, which Lord Saville himself chaired, prepared the Model CV in response to an increasing number of concerns raised by senior judges about the quality and content of CV's in the reports they were seeing. CV's are often too long and do not contain information that would assist the courts.
The committee have stated that the hallmarks of a good CV are brevity, clarity and most importantly ensuring the information provided is relevant to the case. The CV must demonstrate the Expert's qualification and experience for the case. The Model CV will sit alongside the Model Form of Expert's Report which is already in widespread use.
It is important to remember that the Model Form of Expert Witness CV is a Model and not a Standard form CV. Some courts and jurisdictions have particular and additional requirements. The Federal Court in the USA for example requires the inclusion of details of cases in which the Expert has been involved as an Expert and the Family Court in England & Wales expects that the Expert will have undertaken training as an expert witness within the last year.
The Model Form of Expert Witness CV is designed for use in all court, tribunal and arbitration proceedings. When appropriate it can be used in alternative dispute resolution.
At the launch of the Model CV Lord Saville stated:
"In developing the Model Form of Expert Witness CV the Judicial Committee wanted to provide a template. This would ensure that experts, irrespective of their discipline, set out their qualifications and experience relevant to matters on which they are expressing their opinion in a clear and simple format.
In the same way that the model report format has been widely adopted around the world we believe that the Model CV could be a new international standard adopted and used by all Experts."
The following is an extract from the Model CV ...
Why a Model Form of CV
1.1 The Model Form of Expert Witness CV has been introduced in response to the concern of some senior judges that the CVs attached to expert reports are too long and contain personal and professional information that does not assist the court.
1.2 A particular problem often encountered is the failure of the expert witness to narrow the information provided to matters that are relevant to the dispute at hand, either directly or by way of background. Lists of every speaking engagement and publication in which the expert has been involved, and details of school achievements and personal interests are not helpful; nor are photographs.
1.3 When preparing a CV for the purpose of acting as an expert witness, the expert should have at the forefront of his/her mind the following guidelines:
1.3.1 that all matters recorded in the CV must be focused on the subject matter of the dispute;
1.3.2 that experts should include their breadth and depth of background only to the extent that it provides context to their relevant qualifications and experience.
1.4 The Judicial Committee of The Academy of Experts has commented that the hallmarks of a good CV are:
1.4.1 brevity (as a guide, a CV should not generally extend beyond 3 pages);
1.4.2 the provision of material in reverse chronological order (most recent first);
1.4.3 the provision of material limited to professional experience only (for example, details of school, school activities and accomplishments, address, age, family, hobbies and non-professional interests, should not be included);
1.4.4 the provision of clear headings;
1.4.5 the use of short statements where possible, rather than lists (for example, providing the number of papers published and titles of publications concerned relating to a subject area, rather than reciting full reference details for each relevant to the instant case);
1.4.6 clear presentation:
- the use of A4 sized white paper;
- the use of black text (not colour);
- the use of font, line spacing and text size to match the main expert report to which the CV will normally be Appendix ‘A’;
1.4.7 no appendices.
1.5 Although brevity is desirable it must not sacrifice the intrinsic value and purpose of the CV which is to demonstrate the Expert’s qualification and experience for the case in question.