Build a firm foundation
According to our series of expert witness surveys conducted by the UK Register of Expert Witnesses (every two years from 1997, access the survey reports), the number of experts who use a written form of contract when accepting instructions from a solicitor has never exceeded 55%. That leaves nearly half of all experts claiming not to use written terms.
As every lawyer knows, setting out clear terms for any contract, at the outset, is essential if subsequent problems are to be avoided. The contract between expert and instructing lawyer should be no different. Indeed, the need for expert witnesses to be upfront about their terms of engagement is now a requirement of the Civil Procedure Rules.
Section 7.2 of the Experts’ Protocol requires experts and lawyers to place their professional relationship on a firmer footing by ensuring a contract – ideally written – is in place before any work begins. Experts must comply.
Member experts have long had access to Factsheet 15 dealing specifically with terms of engagement (see Factsheets in the library). But our Little Book on Expert Witness Fees makes creating a set of terms even easier.