02/14/2023 - UK Feature: How to Effectively Maximise the Use of Expert Witnesses in Arbitration Proceedings

Arbitration is a popular method of dispute resolution for parties seeking a faster, more flexible, and less formal process compared to traditional litigation. In arbitration, the parties submit their dispute to one or more impartial arbitrators who will make a binding decision on the matter. The use of expert witnesses is a common feature of arbitration proceedings, and can be crucial in providing evidence and opinion on technical or specialized matters. Here are some tips on how to maximize the use of expert witnesses in arbitration proceedings.

Choose the Right Expert Witness

Choosing the right expert witness is critical in maximizing their use in arbitration proceedings. You need to select an expert witness who has the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to provide evidence and opinion on the technical or specialized matter at issue. The expert should also have a good reputation and be able to communicate complex information in a clear and concise manner.

Get the Expert Involved Early

To maximize the use of expert witnesses, it is important to get them involved early in the arbitration process. This will allow the expert to fully understand the issues at stake and to provide their opinion based on all the available evidence. It will also give the expert time to review the documents and prepare their report, as well as to participate in any pre-hearing discussions or conferences.

Consider Joint Expert Reports

In some cases, it may be helpful to consider joint expert reports. This involves the parties agreeing to appoint a single expert to provide a report on a specific issue. This can be useful in situations where there is a narrow point of dispute, or where the parties need to obtain a neutral expert opinion. Joint expert reports can save time and money, as the parties will only need to pay for one expert rather than two or more.

Provide Clear Instructions to the Expert

To maximize the use of expert witnesses, it is important to provide them with clear instructions. This will help to ensure that the expert understands the scope of their role and what is required of them. The instructions should be detailed and include information such as the issues to be addressed, the specific questions to be answered, the relevant documents to be reviewed, and the deadline for the expert report.

Prepare the Expert for Cross-Examination

One of the most important aspects of expert witness testimony is the cross-examination. To maximize the use of expert witnesses, it is important to prepare them for this part of the arbitration process. This can involve a mock cross-examination, where the expert is asked questions by the party's counsel in a simulated hearing setting. This can help to identify areas where the expert may be vulnerable, and to prepare them to respond effectively to any challenging questions.

Ensure the Expert's Report is Clear and Concise

The expert's report is a critical document in arbitration proceedings, and it is important that it is clear and concise. This will help to ensure that the report is easily understood by the arbitrator and other parties. The report should be well-organized and include a clear summary of the expert's opinion, as well as supporting evidence and data.

Use Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence can be a powerful tool in arbitration proceedings. This can include charts, diagrams, graphs, or other visual aids that can help to illustrate complex information. Demonstrative evidence can be particularly useful in cases involving technical or specialized issues, as it can help to make the expert's opinion more accessible and understandable.

Provide the Expert with a Clear Briefing

To maximize the use of expert witnesses, it is important to provide them with a clear briefing. This should include information about the arbitration process, the role of the expert, and the specific issues that need to be addressed. The briefing should also include any relevant documents, such as the statement of claim, the response, and any expert reports.

In Conclusion

Expert witnesses can play a critical role in arbitration proceedings, providing valuable evidence and opinion on technical or specialized matters. To maximize the use of expert witnesses, it is important to choose the right expert, get them involved early, provide clear instructions, prepare them for cross-examination, ensure their report is clear and concise, use demonstrative evidence, and provide them with a clear briefing.

By following these tips, parties can ensure that they make the most of their expert witnesses and present the strongest possible case in arbitration. Expert witnesses can provide a valuable contribution to the decision-making process and help parties reach a fair and just resolution to their dispute.