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lutzman
(@lutzman)
New Member

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?

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Posted : 16/05/2007 8:56 pm
reverendlex
(@reverendlex)
New Member

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.

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Posted : 18/05/2007 7:53 pm
Rich2005
(@rich2005)
Active Member

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…."

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Posted : 18/05/2007 8:00 pm
TMD22
(@tmd22)
Junior Member

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.

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Posted : 19/05/2007 6:16 am
lutzman
(@lutzman)
New Member

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.

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Posted : 19/05/2007 8:29 am
schlecht
(@schlecht)
Junior Member

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.

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Posted : 19/05/2007 6:23 pm
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

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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Posted : 19/05/2007 7:08 pm
lutzman
(@lutzman)
New Member

Thanks

It makes sense now, and also appears very obvious.

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Posted : 20/05/2007 1:37 am
honeyjew
(@honeyjew)
New Member

It is my understanding that there is no such thing in the UK as an expert witness unless the judge in a particular case says you are. Up until that point you are just a prosecution/defence witness, and the judge will erm.. judge you based on your experience etc whether you should be given expert status. Once given expert status you are no longer working for your employer, you are working for the court.

Therefore be wary of anyone advertising 'expert witness' services - as that is not up to them at all. Just because you were given expert status one time doesn't mean it will be given the next time.

ps. I am not a lawyer.

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Posted : 01/06/2007 12:44 pm
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

It is my understanding that there is no such thing in the UK as an expert witness unless the judge in a particular case says you are. Up until that point you are just a prosecution/defence witness, and the judge will erm.. judge you based on your experience etc whether you should be given expert status. Once given expert status you are no longer working for your employer, you are working for the court.

Therefore be wary of anyone advertising 'expert witness' services - as that is not up to them at all. Just because you were given expert status one time doesn't mean it will be given the next time.

ps. I am not a lawyer.

True that a Judge will decide whether a witness is an expert witness or not, based upon whether that person has more knowledge of a subject that day in court or in the alternative one party makes an objection. Yes you are right - there are regrettably some cowboys out there.

However, I do not think the matter of expert or expert witness is as diluted as maybe some may think. One only needs to read The Civil Procedure Rules, Criminal Procedure Rules, and huge range of case law, case procedure books and of course talk with the Societies and Association that proliferate. If the framework for expert or expert witness didn't exist then none of the above would exist and have rules, regulations etc in place either. I think in your answer there is perhaps a tacit agreement with this when you mentioned that a witness [sic] is "working for the court."

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Posted : 01/06/2007 3:56 pm
gmarshall139
(@gmarshall139)
Active Member

Therefore be wary of anyone advertising 'expert witness' services - as that is not up to them at all. Just because you were given expert status one time doesn't mean it will be given the next time.

Well stated, your post really sums up the situation. In many cases your "expert" status will be argued by two attorneys, neither of which represent you. Expert witness status is truly temporary, not a lifelong title.

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Posted : 01/06/2007 6:19 pm
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

In many cases your "expert" status will be argued by two attorneys……

That maybe so in US, not apparent in the UK. In most cases over here a person instructed to provide opinion on evidence submits their details. From a criminal case defence aspect the solciitor will decide firstly from information supplied and pass a copy to Counsel. If person is acceptable then any concern if at all about an expert or witness will be addressed at court. There is a notable case over here about experts - R v Luttrell & Ors [2004] EWCA Crim 1344.

Expert witness status is truly temporary, not a lifelong title.

Agreed - no one lives forever, people retire and so on. But at no point in my experience has a statement been issued that once an expert has given evidence you go back into what you were doing, you can't promote you have been an expert or expert witness and you will have to prove yourself again next week. That doesn't mean you wont have to demonstrate your competence of the subject matter, of course, but the legal system doesn't take away skill and experience of being an expert or expert witness or the rights of an individual to provide that service again.

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Posted : 01/06/2007 8:36 pm
gmarshall139
(@gmarshall139)
Active Member

I suppose it is semantics, but I'm careful how I claim to be an "expert". If I bill someone for expert witness services, and a judge declines it, do I offer a refund?

When I say temporary, I mean for the duration of your testimony in the case where you are declared an expert. I have no problem saying that I have been an expert witness, that's a fact, but the next time I go into court, I'm not an expert witness until the judge says I am.

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Posted : 01/06/2007 8:49 pm
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

I suppose it is semantics, but I'm careful how I claim to be an "expert". If I bill someone for expert witness services, and a judge declines it, do I offer a refund?

When I say temporary, I mean for the duration of your testimony in the case where you are declared an expert. I have no problem saying that I have been an expert witness, that's a fact, but the next time I go into court, I'm not an expert witness until the judge says I am.

It was me, Greg, my brain had not clicked-in on the above -).

After I had posted, one matter I missed, which is not too dissimilar to what you are saying. At one time in the UK (late 1980s to mid-1990s) the court would from time to time hold a voire dire (trial within a trial) and experts and witnesses turned up for cross-examination to be assessed fit for purpose. It is not heard of now as a frequent event, but occasionally I hear such and such a person was in a case where it happened.

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Posted : 01/06/2007 9:13 pm
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