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Expert and technical witnesses

Discussion of legislation relating to computer forensics.
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lutzman
Newbie
 

Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 16, 07 19:56

What is the difference between an Expert witness, and a Technical witness.

From reading the forums and searching the web, I understand that an expert witness is someone who would have more knowledge about a subject than is common. So what would a technical witness be?  
 
  

reverendlex
Member
 

Re: Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 18, 07 18:53

- lutzman
What is the difference between an Expert witness, and a Technical witness.

From reading the forums and searching the web, I understand that an expert witness is someone who would have more knowledge about a subject than is common. So what would a technical witness be?



Legally, there are two kinds of witnesses:

Lay witnesses are people with first hand knowledge of the fact in dispute. They can testify as to what they directly sensed.

Expert witnesses are people with specialized knowledge of a certain field. They can testify as to their opinions to a fact in dispute, or they can be used to prepare a lawyer's examination of another witness.

Technical witness?- I've not heard that term used by lawyers.  
 
  

Rich2005
Senior Member
 

Re: Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 18, 07 19:00

Sounds like what's being elluded to is giving evidence of fact, as opposed to giving personal opinion. "I found xxx, at the location xxx." rather than "I found xxx, at the location xxxx, which in my opinion probably means that...."  
 
  

TMD22
Member
 

Re: Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 19, 07 05:16

In the US there are two expert witness categories, according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure FRCP and Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). I know this because I am a board Certified Forensic Consultant.

There are a "consulting or technical expert witness" and an expert witness who will "testify at trial or under oath about his findings". The consulting expert is just that, a consultant with expertise in a given area, whereas the other expert is also knowledgable in a field say CF and will also testify in court.

Any attorney/expert work producy produced by the "consultant expert" does not have to be included in doscovery, this is an attorney call. The testifying expert, however, all his notes, reports and communications must usually be turned over in discovery to the adversary's attorneys.

Hope this helped.  
 
  

lutzman
Newbie
 

Re: Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 19, 07 07:29

It does help, so thanks for that, but not as much as I was hoping. I was asking because I believe that the question would be coming up in an exam, in the UK, so I tried to find definitions on the web and when that failed, decided to ask here.

I certainly don't have enough to answer, if indeed it is asked, so I'll have to keep searching.  
 
  

schlecht
Member
 

Re: Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 19, 07 17:23

It's actually quite simple, Rich2005 was on the right path.

Technical - presents on the facts only - no opinion.

Expert - presents on the facts and provides an opinion.
_________________
schlecht 
 
  

trewmte
Senior Member
 

Re: Expert and technical witnesses

Post Posted: May 19, 07 18:08

- schlecht
It's actually quite simple, Rich2005 was on the right path.

Technical - presents on the facts only - no opinion.

Expert - presents on the facts and provides an opinion.


I agree with the above, having been a witness in both categories over the years.

Technical witnesses are there to identify the "processes and procedures" of obtaining the evidence and, if needs be, explain how the "thing" works, so to speak.

Expert opinion is to provide an "explanation" or "possible conclusions" that might be drawn from the evaluation of the evidence overall.

It does seem, though, the demarcation between the roles has become blurred as experts do give opinion based upon their own tests, processes and procedures. Equally, technical witnesses having conducted the tests etc are often found to be straying into giving expert opinion.

I do remember some while back that there was an argument raised that an expert should not actually do the tests etc but consider the entire evidence overall. The reasoning behind this was if an expert conducted the tests and conclusions s/he arrived at could potentially be based upon the expert not recognising or maybe not even willing to identify the flaws in their own test work etc. Can't say that has stood the test of time, but it still hovers in the background and raises its head every couple of years.  
 

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