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Oz judge scolds a malleable expert

It's long been a complaint about our system of lawyer-procured scientific evidence that experts often trim and shape their testimony to fit the needs of the lawyer who hires them. Now an Australian court has chided the prominent law firm of Clayton Utz for taking too aggressive a hand in managing its expert, computer science professor Keith Ross of Polytechnic University in New York, in a case on behalf of a client named Sharman Networks, a maker of controversial music-swapping software. Clayton's lawyers started by sending Ross a draft "skeleton" of the testimony they needed, and went on to demand technical changes; evidence later submitted indicated that Ross was led to endorse some propositions that he acknowledged weren't based on his own knowledge or observations, according to The Australian. He even wrote the law firm: "Feel free to make any changes, delete entire paragraphs etc." In sharply critical language, Judge Murray Wilcox "ruled that he could not accept Professor Ross's explanation for these exchanges, and discounted his evidence on controversial issues."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.