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Dr Bashir Qureshi. Expert Witness in Cultural, Religious & Ethnic issues in Litigation and also in GP Clinical Negligence, London.

Expert Witness Blog

Legal sector carries on as 'new normal' during coronavirus pandemic

Legal sector carries on as 'new normal' during coronavirus pandemic

Since the last issue of Your Expert Witness, when we were in limbo as to where the coronavirus outbreak was going, the COVID-19 crisis has infiltrated all aspects of life – including in the legal sector. It did not take long for the Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to suspend all but the most urgent of hearings, before devising ways of carrying out more routine hearings.

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Expert Witness News

New wording for Statement of Truth comes into effect

New wording for Statement of Truth comes into effect

Expert witness organisations are drawing experts’ urgent attention to an amendment to the Statement of Truth they must include in their reports. The 122nd update to the Practice Direction for the Civil Procedure Rules makes the new wording mandatory and came into effect from 1 October this year.

The new Statement of Truth that should be used reads: “I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.

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Expert Witness Legal News

How can the Paralegal Sector help law firms get back on their feet, post Covid-19? By Amanda Hamilton, NALP

How can the Paralegal Sector help law firms get back on their feet, post Covid-19? By Amanda Hamilton, NALP

As we all know, Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has affected our lives in many ways and forced many law firms into hardship.

Some practices are in a catch 22, wondering whether or not to invest in remote working facilities when their financial situation is so vulnerable. I’m aware of one commercial business owner that has 300 employees and a massive weekly payroll. She has to make just that decision: should she financially invest in supplying internet, computers and phones for them to work at home when there is little/no income coming in? Furthermore, there is the knowledge that this situation will not last indefinitely.

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Expert Witness : Building and Property

Lawyer warns construction companies of the challenges of  ‘virtual mediation’ as a result of Covid-19

Lawyer warns construction companies of the challenges of ‘virtual mediation’ as a result of Covid-19

Organisations that are looking to use mediation as a way to resolve a dispute without the need for costly litigation need to be aware of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic will have on the process in the coming months, and the potential pitfalls and challenges. This is according to Ian Timlin, a specialist dispute resolution and commercial litigation lawyer at Conexus Law, who cautions that the new process may not be as effective and is also less secure unless certain measures are put in place.

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Expert Witness : Criminal

More psychologists are in court – and that’s a good thing!

More psychologists are in court – and that’s a good thing!

Vulnerable offenders with mental health, alcohol and substance abuse problems are increasingly being diverted from short-term custodial sentences and towards treatment that aims to tackle the causes of their offending.

In the pilot areas – Birmingham, Plymouth, Sefton, Milton Keynes and Northampton – psychologists are working collaboratively with the existing panels of justice and health officials. Together, the professionals ensure that magistrates and judges have the information they need to determine whether an offender should be required to receive treatment for their mental health, alcohol or drug issues.

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Expert Witness : Medico Legal

Latest MoJ report short on detail, expert complains

Latest MoJ report short on detail, expert complains

In September the Ministry of Justice published the results of a consultation on medical reporting within the package of whiplash and small claims track reforms – due to be implemented in April next year for road traffic cases. The consultation ran for a month in April-May, and the resultant document sets out the government’s policy choices.

It is, however – as seems par for the course in this area – very light on detail. That is the conclusion of Alistair Kinley, director of policy and government affairs at law firm BLM.

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Expert Witness : Technology

Government to plug mobile phone loophole

Government to plug mobile phone loophole

The government has confirmed it will close a legal loophole which has allowed drivers to escape prosecution for hand-held mobile phone use while behind the wheel.

At present, the law prevents drivers from using a hand-held mobile phone to call or text.

However, people caught filming or taking photos while driving have escaped punishment as lawyers have successfully argued that the activity does not fit into the ‘interactive communication’ currently outlawed by the legislation.

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Expert Witness : Environment

The fundamental right to be protected from the dangers of air pollution

The fundamental right to be protected from the dangers of air pollution

The British Safety Council welcomed the news of the High Court quashing the verdict of the 2014 inquest into the death of nine-year old Ella Kissi-Debrah, who suffered a fatal asthma attack. Her mother Rosamund has since campaigned for a fresh inquest, believing Ella’s death was caused by high levels of air pollution near her home in southeast London. It means that Ella could become the first person in the UK to have air pollution mentioned as a contributory factor on her death certificate.

Lawrence Waterman, Chairman of the British Safety Council, commented: “The ruling of the High Court is proof that since 2014 we have become much better informed about the dangers of air pollution. Air poll...

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Expert Witness : Animal & Farming

Dr WHO? by Dr Debbie Marsden

Dr WHO? by Dr Debbie Marsden

Dr Debbie Marsden, a leading equestrian expert with over 20 years professional experience of expert witness work, offers some advice on selecting the right expert in cases involving animals

In animal related cases, a veterinary surgeon is often the best expert, being generally regarded as an authority on animals and easily recognised by the word ‘veterinary’ – a protected title – and the letters MRCVS (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) after various degrees.

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Parliament, Legislation And Public Sector

Home Office GDPR exemption risks new Windrush, says Law Society

Home Office GDPR exemption risks new Windrush, says Law Society

The Law Society of England and Wales has criticised the decision to exempt the Home Office from data access rules in the new Data Protection Act, which implements the widely-publicised GDPR. The move will inevitably lead to miscarriages of justice, the society has warned.

Law Society president Joe Egan said the immigration exemption in the legislation stripped accountability from Home Office decision making.

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Expert Witness: Events

Expert witness conference is hailed a success

Expert witness conference is hailed a success

On 8 November Bond Solon held the 25th Bond Solon Expert Witness Conference at Church House in Westminster. Demand for the conference had been particularly high, leading to a fully-booked event. Nearly 500 expert witnesses were in attendance and there were over 50 expert witnesses on the waiting list.

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 Your Expert Witness Issue 54


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Issue No. 52   The Charity Pages Issue 8


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Issue No. 51   The Charity Pages Issue 7

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Changes in housing law on the way in wake of Grenfell tragedy

A legal review of the current housing law, carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy which killed 71 people last June, has called for sweeping changes to improve safety standards and protect tenants.

The report urges a cultural change so that those responsible for the health and safety of occupiers become proactive in fulfilling those responsibilities, says Liz Brady (pictured), a property specialist at Kent law firm Furley Page.

Liz says Closing The Gaps: Health and Safety at Home, a report commissioned by housing charity Shelter, could help to shape future legislation alongside other high-profile investigations, such as the ongoing official Public Enquiry headed by Sir Martin Moore-Bick. Dame Judith Hackitt has also recently published her preliminary findings on building regulations and fire safety.

Shelter’s review, carried out by academics at the universities of Kent and Bristol, identifies the gaps in law exposed by the fire at Grenfell Tower, concluding it is “piecemeal, out-dated, complex, dependent upon tenure, and patchily enforced”. Recommendations for a new Housing (Health and Safety in the Home) Act include:

  • Strengthen duties on local authorities to review housing and enforce housing health and safety standards
  • Introduce a legal duty to review and update all guidance relating to health and safety in the home every three years
  • Provide routes for occupiers to require local authorities to carry out housing health and safety assessments
  • Remove unnecessary legal barriers preventing enforcement action being taken against local authority landlords and remove unnecessary procedural barriers which undermine the current regime
  • Consolidate and update existing law

Liz is encouraging people across all sectors to read the Shelter report and engage with the conversation about property law.

She says: “You will see ideas and recommendations of changes which can be made to property law itself and, also, it calls for cooperation and accountability of those who plan, build and look after these buildings. Hopefully, with all these reports and enquiries, progress will be made in the legislation and how it is enforced, and a cultural change will take place to ensure that safety is paramount.”

To read the University of Kent research and Shelter report, visit https://www.kent.ac.uk/law/research/projects/current/healthandsafetyathome.html

Liz Brady, a Partner at Furley Page, has extensive experience of advising clients on a range of commercial property transactions involving international companies, Kent retail chains, developers, higher educational establishments and local authorities. She is a member of the Commercial Real Estate Legal Association and the Kent Law Society.

For more information and advice on property issues contact Liz Brady by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01227 763939. You can also follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and on LinkedIn.

For further information visit www.furleypage.co.uk