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Article

Neil Crosby, John Murdoch and Anthony Lavers

This paper addresses the performance, training and organisation of expert valuation witnesses in the UK. Previous research, based on analysis of professional negligence…

Abstract

This paper addresses the performance, training and organisation of expert valuation witnesses in the UK. Previous research, based on analysis of professional negligence cases in the UK courts, had found that expert valuation witnesses do not always perform rationally, for example informing courts that valuations can be undertaken within acceptable tolerances of valuation accuracy, while giving expert evidence that differed by more than these tolerances. There was evidence that, while well aware of their overriding duty to the court or tribunal, expert witnesses were frequently producing client‐biased valuations. Such findings provoked questions as to whether standards would be improved by two recently proposed alterations to current practice: either the introduction of a system of compulsory training and accreditation for such witnesses, or a change from the process by which expert valuation evidence is normally presented (one expert witness for each party to a dispute) to the use of a single expert, appointed either by the parties jointly or by the court. A case analysis is performed and conclusions discussed.

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Journal of Property Investment & Finance, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-578X

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James Phillips

Expert witnessing in asylum cases involves depicting the conditions of the applicant’s home country as a context for judging a well-founded fear for life or safety. Most…

Abstract

Expert witnessing in asylum cases involves depicting the conditions of the applicant’s home country as a context for judging a well-founded fear for life or safety. Most of the elements involved in the work of the expert country witness are dynamic and change over time, creating new challenges and new resources for describing and interpreting country context. Examining several characteristic Honduran asylum cases separated by 20 years reveals not only an increasingly complex and multifaceted set of relevant conditions in both the sending and the host country, but also a significant broadening of the anthropological “tool kit” available to the expert country witness (as the expert witness becomes aware of its relevance to country conditions at a particular time), and an increasingly reflexive and complex relationship of the expert witness to the country in question and to the court. In the interim, emerging problems of contextual complexity, subjectivity, changing and competing images of reality, and the shifting applicability of legal and sociological definitions and categories arise and can be partially addressed with emerging anthropological or social scientific resources, raising anew the nature of the relationship of the expert witness to the court and the possible mutual influence of social science and legal culture upon each other over time. As the number of refugee seekers increases globally, can expert witnesses trained in social sciences help asylum courts to imagine new ways of bridging the gap between legal regimes of governmentality and the subjectivity of refugees?

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Special Issue: Cultural Expert Witnessing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-764-7

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Article

Paul Handford and Patrick Ellum

Discusses the importance of the expert witness in constructiondisputes between a building′s owner and the contractor and engineer.Examines the technical issues the judge…

Abstract

Discusses the importance of the expert witness in construction disputes between a building′s owner and the contractor and engineer. Examines the technical issues the judge must resolve, the things involved in being an expert witness, and the qualities an expert witness should possess. Concludes that the expert witness should have the ability to advise the client, and should leave the team if the evidence cannot assist the client.

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Structural Survey, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

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Book part

Taina Cooke

In this chapter, I examine the informal cultural expertise utilized in the District Courts and Courts of Appeal of two Finnish cities. I argue that the parties that serve…

Abstract

In this chapter, I examine the informal cultural expertise utilized in the District Courts and Courts of Appeal of two Finnish cities. I argue that the parties that serve as providers of “cultural expertise” are manifold and include eyewitnesses, interpreters, and even the courts themselves. I examine the challenges regarding the informal use of cultural expertise, drawing from debates that consider the relationship between an “insider-expert” and a “trained-expert” in acting as a cultural mediator.

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Cultural Expertise and Socio-Legal Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-515-3

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E. James Cowan

This chapter examines whether the view of the jury in cases involving forensic evidence can be changed from that of “naïve automatons” to that of “sophisticated decision…

Abstract

This chapter examines whether the view of the jury in cases involving forensic evidence can be changed from that of “naïve automatons” to that of “sophisticated decision makers”; whether the defense and prosecution must provide the jurors with information to help them develop a schema upon which to evaluate the forensic evidence; and whether to remove decision making from the expert forensic scientist and return it to the jury. The chapter uses secondary sources of information collected from criminal cases, the current federal law, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with expert testimony, studies of how to enable juries confronted with forensic evidence, as well as a framework of learning theory and persuasion games. I argue that expert forensic scientists make errors. Juries are capable of making decisions based on complex forensic evidence if provided the knowledge within which to develop schema to evaluate that evidence. Competition between the defense and prosecution in presenting interpretations of scientifically valid evidence, as well as providing schema to enable the jury to evaluate the information, provides juries with the ability to arrive at a full information decision. Expert nullification of jury decision making should be halted and decision making returned to the jury. The value of this chapter is to integrate learning theory from cognitive psychology with one-shot and extended persuasion games to evaluate the roles of the jury and the expert forensic scientists within the criminal justice system.

Details

Experts and Epistemic Monopolies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-217-2

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Christa Rautenbach

South Africa’s mixed, pluralistic legal order demands a nuanced approach to cultural expertise in litigation. Culture in general and cultural expertise in particular have…

Abstract

South Africa’s mixed, pluralistic legal order demands a nuanced approach to cultural expertise in litigation. Culture in general and cultural expertise in particular have always played an important role in all areas of law, both state and non-state, and a rich collection of jurisprudence is available to serve as illustration. Even though both the common law and the customary law are both recognized legal systems, they are treated differently by the judiciary. The general rule is that judicial notice must be taken of the common law rules and that judicial notice of customary law may only be taken “in so far as such law can be ascertained readily and with sufficient certainty.” The ascertainment of customary law provides a challenge to the judiciary because of its adaptive inherent flexibility and indeterminate nature, especially where the rules are oral or so-called “living” customary law. Cultural expertise also plays an important role in the case of non-state law. A considerable quantity of case law exists where the courts have considered expert evidence regarding the content of certain religious legal systems to provide protection to litigants claiming that they are subject to those systems. The aim of this contribution is to investigate the diverse approaches of the South African courts when it comes to the admissibility of expert evidence in cases where culture (both custom and religion in both state and non-state law) is relevant. The fact that the South African legal system has its roots firmly in Western law and has been confronted with cultural diversity for a very long time might provide some lessons to the Western world, even if those lessons are only to prevent it from making the same mistakes as the South African legal system has made or might still be doing.

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Cultural Expertise and Socio-Legal Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-515-3

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Article

Gary Sutton

This article seeks to provide an insight into the work of an expert witness working in drug trials in Crown courts.

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to provide an insight into the work of an expert witness working in drug trials in Crown courts.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a case study of a single expert witness, drawing on experiences over several years.

Findings

The evidence produced in court is subject to the personal limitations and organisational constraints of the experts involved. Prosecution often relies on unreliable and secretive sources. It is important to increase transparency and for a robust challenge to be made to some claims. Many experts are former police officers who are rarely objective or neutral, hence the need for independent experts from within the field.

Research limitations/implications

Personal experience cannot always be generalised so limits the information presented in this case study.

Practical implications

The role of expert witness is a career development opportunity for people working in the drugs and alcohol field.

Social implications

It is important to understand the subjective way in which testimony and evidence is produced.

Originality/value

This paper gives a rare insight into a key aspect of the legal process.

Details

Drugs and Alcohol Today, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1745-9265

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Abstract

Details

Special Issue: Cultural Expert Witnessing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-764-7

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Article

Paul Murrells

From 1 March 1997, chartered surveyors acting as expert witnesses must comply with an RICS Practice Statement and Guidance Notes. Failure to do so may constitute a…

Abstract

From 1 March 1997, chartered surveyors acting as expert witnesses must comply with an RICS Practice Statement and Guidance Notes. Failure to do so may constitute a disciplinary matter. Considers how compliance with the Practice Statement should assist in bringing an earlier resolution of survey claims.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

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Book part

Kathleen M. Gallagher

This chapter explores the multiple boundaries traversed and accompanying acts of translation entailed in the provision of expertise by anthropologists. The chapter begins…

Abstract

This chapter explores the multiple boundaries traversed and accompanying acts of translation entailed in the provision of expertise by anthropologists. The chapter begins with an overview of the asylum process, the criteria constituting persecution, and a description of the bureaucracy and procedures by which asylum is determined. The role of expert witness is then introduced with a focus on the rules of federal evidence that paved the way for greater anthropological involvement in the provision of expertise. The next section reviews some of the extant ethnographic literature to date on the asylum process, highlighting the role of dissonance as a recurrent theme in two different respects: the dissonance that occurs between the asylum applicant and the legal setting, and the dissonance that is created between the asylee and his or her body in the aftermath of trauma. The crafting of the affidavit is then analyzed to illustrate the boundary crossings and acts of translation involved in the appraisal and understanding of asylum, including the traversal of difference in scale, temporality, and the construction of social reality, particularly those espoused by anthropology and law. I suggest that contributing to the protection of human rights through the provision of expert witness is a necessary and mutually beneficial collaboration whereby anthropological evidence, insight, and knowledge provide positive content to legal rights. I conclude that anthropologists are uniquely well qualified in the interlocution of persecution, likening the provision of expertise to fieldwork, as a series of border crossings and acts of translation.

Details

Special Issue: Cultural Expert Witnessing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-764-7

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