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Last updateThu, 28 Mar 2024 2pm

The value of the informed expert

0o3512 128 128By arboricultural consultant and accredited expert witness Mark Chester of Cedarwood Tree Care.

The role of the expert witness in advising on claims is a key element. Having an informed guide to give counsel on the merits of a case can ensure that wise decisions are taken either to pursue or defend a claim. What may surprise is that arboriculture, my own specialism, is unregulated. During my two decades as an Arboricultural Consultant, I have encountered evidence, sometimes quite limited being given undue merit, as those instructing are unaware of the limitations of the ‘expert’.

When I am instructed to review a case, a starting point is to explore existing evidence and its merit. I have found the term ‘expert’ being applied widely to individuals whose credentials are not thus. In one case, where a tree had broken and cased a road accident, the tree owner strongly defended their situation, and the condition of the tree, based on the opinion of their ‘tree expert’, who suggested inclement weather was the reason for the failure. It was when I explored further and found out the inclement weather was not in that locality, and the ‘expert’ was the individual who mowed the lawns and trimmed the trees, that the claim was recognised as having merit.


Forewarned is forearmed: how the virus affects dentistry

A personal perspective on COVID-19 from an expert witness and specialist in restorative dentistry.

By TOBY TALBOT BDS (Sheff) MSD (Washington) FDS RCS (Eng)

We began to hear of the coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan Province in China in early January 2020.

Rather than wait for formal advice from our authorities, I contacted a colleague working in Hong Kong, who was well acquainted with the effects of the SARS outbreak in 2003, a variant of coronavirus. A similar pandemic of MERS that had followed in the Middle East in 2012 led me to contact colleagues in the Emirates. They kindly passed on the protocols that were adopted by them at that time for me to implement immediately in my own clinic.

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.

Scotland’s lawyers celebrate platinum

This year sees the 70th anniversary of The Law Society of Scotland. Given that the legal systems in Scotland and England have been famously different for centuries, it seems perverse that the country’s lawyers only acquired their own representative body less than one of those centuries ago. In fact the principal was established in 1933, but the little matter of World War Two got in the way of its implementation.

Nevertheless, a platinum anniversary is something to be celebrated and Scotland’s advocates are determined to do just that: especially as it coincides with the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act, which paved the way for women to become solicitors for the first time.