An expert is asked to look with deeply experienced eyes at a scenario in which they have no personal interest. But a good expert is not jaded. Every scenario is unique and fascinating. A good expert serves the courts by appreciatively enquiring into the heart of the matter. From a psychological perspective, this is almost always an examination of the subject’s character, motives, reasoning, or capacity. This ‘inside perspective’, together with an assessment of ‘what it means’, provides a vital alternative dimension to the court’s deliberations.
An expert is also an observer of the court process. A professional participant who should not be a protagonist in the adversarial process: someone permitted exceptionally to contribute opinion into the courts’ deliberations (section 3, Civil Evidence Act, 1972).
This unique role provides the expert with a lateral view of justice as it is handed down.
I have been an expert witness for 20 years, and have written hundreds of reports for courts, tribunals, panels, private clients, and for assessment purposes.
My blogs are a way to share some of the unique ‘inside perspectives’ revealed through a minute examination of the circumstances of children in need and at risk, and individuals court up (!) either in contention with the authorities or each other, or seeking to claim their human rights, or facing criminal proceedings.
If Matthew, a 59 year old man, has sexual contact with Rosie, a 25 year old woman with learning difficulties and a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, a sexual assault has obviously been committed. Hasn’t it? Matthew met Rosie’s at the home of an older woman with learning difficulties with whom he had had a relationship. …
I have no axe to grind in these journals. It would be out of place. I am more interested in sharing my personal perspective on some of the more fascinating cases on which I have been instructed. I have been challenged, amused, surprised, and sometimes deeply moved by the events described in these narratives. In …