PracticeAccounting FirmsExpert witnesses face new guidance

Expert witnesses face new guidance

Forensic accountants who act as expert witnesses will have to abide by a new code of guidance launched this week, or have their evidence will be excluded.

After months of wrangling the Expert Witness Institute and the Academy of Experts have drawn up a new code that will have significant implications for costs, and if not complied with accountants’ evidence could be barred.

Of the new code Lord Phillips, the Master of the Rolls, said: ‘Experts who do not comply with the Code of Guidance might find there are implications for costs and it might result in their evidence being excluded.’

The code now clearly states that contingency payments must not be offered or accepted. Some solicitors and experts have previously accepted these payments.

Lawyers and experts must now co-operate over the agenda of discussions between experts. Concerns were growing over the ‘fine line’ between co-operation and pressure.

Mark Solon, founding director of Bond Solon Training, a witness training centre, said: ‘Experts will be delighted that the EWI and the Academy have at last got their acts together. Experts have been working in a vacuum for too long. We have already set up training programmes for all experts to get up to speed on the Code.’

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