Zeid And Others v Credit Suisse

The experience of an Expert

[2011] EWHC 2422 (Comm), [2011] 2 CLC 523 TEDR Volume: 16 Issue: 1

The Facts

This was an application to determine whether expert evidence might or might not be of assistance in a complex financial case where Credit Suisse had advised the Claimants to invest in some Structured Notes.

The first attack that was made was upon the expertise of the expert himself. He was a man with some 15 years experience in dealing with structured products and had academic and professional qualifications relating to securities dealing. He had worked in the industry with direct client contact and, thereafter, he had worked as a consultant to the industry.

Overall, when looking at the CV of the proposed expert, Mr. Justice Hamblen considered that the expert was generally qualified to give evidence on the topics which he was going to be required to talk about. It was accepted that expertise can be based on both experience and study, both of which the expert in this particular case appeared to have. This particular field of expertise had no professional body and the Defendant tried to make mileage out of this fact. However, the judge felt that given there was a structure to investment advice within the country with various FSA rules governing it, he considered that the Court was likely to derive some help from a person with a real understanding of such products. The Court went on to say that of course the weight that the evidence would be given in the end of the day would be a matter for the trial judge. The Defendants would of course be free to make whatever point they wished to make about the level of expertise at trial. However, that was not a reason for excluding the evidence in the first place given that it was only admissibility that the Court was considered with at the permission stage.


Was expert evidence necessary?


Overall, it is not necessarily the case that experts have to have professional qualifications or be members of professional bodies to allow them to give expert evidence upon an issue. Clearly, people can gain expertise in particular fields over the years by pursuing their interests or profession and will be well able to talk about that with expertise before a tribunal. Whilst of course lack of expertise can lead to cross examination in the witness box, a lack of expertise can lead to cross examination in the witness box, a lack of paper qualifications should not be of too much concern.

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