What does the future hold for expert witnesses, in the light of the Jackson reforms controlling litigation costs and cuts in legal aid? Prominent speakers will discuss these issues and more at the Annual Bond Solon Expert Witness conference, the largest gathering of expert witnesses in the UK.
The conference will see the launch of the results of the Family Justice Council's and Ministry of Justice's consultation Standards for Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts in England and Wales. It is the general consensus that the use of experts will be controlled more tightly, meaning that the social worker will increasingly be seen as the court expert.
The keynote speaker is the Hon Mr Justice Ramsey, who has worked on the implementation of the Jackson reforms.
Other speakers include Michael Mansfield QC on legal aid cuts, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division in England and Wales, and Sir Alan Ward on litigants in person.
This is the nineteenth Annual Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference. It is the largest annual gathering of expert witnesses in the UK and a chance to hear prominent speakers dealing with the issues that affect them.
The Jackson reforms will have a massive impact on experts, in particular relating to costs control in litigation. Fees must now be approved in advance by the judge, and judges will no longer allow fees that are disproportionate to the amount in dispute or complexity of the case, even if the time spent would appear to be reasonable. Judges will be less lenient with parties who delay cases and who do not comply with the court's orders during the case. The Hon. Mr Justice Ramsey, who has worked on the implementation of the reforms, and Kerry Underwood, chairman of Underwoods Solicitors, will explore what these changes mean for expert witnesses.
Legal aid cuts and changes are already affecting solicitors and experts. Michael Mansfield QC argues that they will also affect justice. The Rt Hon. Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, will present the results of the MoJ consultation Standards for Expert Witnesses in the Family Courts in England and Wales and discuss changes to legal aid. In the Family parallel session. the Rt Hon. Sir James Munby, along with two authors of the report, will discuss the details. In the Criminal parallel session Mark Stobbs of the Law Society will explore their policy on (and interpretation of) cuts to legal aid in the criminal courts.
Litigants in person are increasing in number as changes to legal aid begin to bite. Litigants who are not represented by a solicitor or barrister present a unique challenge for the courts, for experts and for the opposing side. Sir Alan Ward, who recently retired after 18 years as a Court of Appeal judge, will give his views.
The Annual Bond Solon Expert Witness Survey
Statistics will be compiled at the conference and the survey results will be released in the week after the conference.
Who should attend?
Expert witnesses and people who are curious to find out more about being an expert witness. A comprehensive range of expertise will be represented at the conference, from firearms to orthopaedics.
When: 9.15am-6.30pm, Friday 8 November 2013
Where: The Church House Conference Centre, Dean's Yard, Westminster, London SW1P 3NZ
Cost to delegates: £245 plus VAT; one free place for every four places booked
Booking: please contact Catherine Butcher, Bond Solon Training Ltd, tel. +44(0)20 7549 2549, firstname.lastname@example.org