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Australia: "Professional witnesses face curbs"

It's not just here:

The State Government [of New South Wales, Australia's most populous state] is considering further limits on the use of paid witnesses in court cases after an inquiry found biased evidence from experts was a "pervasive and persisting" problem.

The inquiry, by the NSW Law Reform Commission, found the rules encouraged "partisan and polarised expert evidence". It recommended giving courts extra powers to try to eliminate bias. The proposals would require any litigant who wanted to produce expert evidence to seek the court's permission....

The commission found bias could be avoided by encouraging litigants to agree on the appointment of a single expert witness.... Litigants would share the payment for the expert and would not be able to call other witnesses without the court's permission.

The commission's inquiry followed reports in the Herald that thousands of experts, including engineers, accountants and medical specialists, were charging up to [A]$10,000 a day to give evidence. Some experts have begun to provide expert evidence on a no-win, no-fee basis -- a practice outlawed in the US because it led to misleading and dishonest evidence.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.