Experiences as an expert witness: Educating people while under oath

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In summary, therefore, my experiences as a witness have been divided into three major areas. In the first, in what was essentially the political process, the game was charge and counter-charge, and the rules, such as they were, were fairly loose. In the second area, that of administrative hearings, the rulesare somewhat tighter, but still not as restrictive as those of a full court session. In court session you are always sworn, carefully qualified as an expert and almost invariably subjected to searching cross- examination. The rules of evidence are strictly adhered to. This is the situation where your freedom of action is most restricted, and is the most rigorous of the situations in which you will use your expertise. However, in the last analysis, you should remember that all that is required of you are simple statements of fact,and your best opinions. Make your statements simple, consistent, and concise, and keep your answers on cross-examination as short as possible. Expert appearances under any of these conditions are very stressful circumstances. They will absorb your attention entirely for some time before you make your appearance. You will feel totally drained after them,and images from the hearing will reverberate in your mind for days. They are, nevertheless, ultimately satisfying experiences. This is because the only measure of the quality of your research is how much it changes the way things are done. Appearances as an expert are a sure sign that you are contributing to change, and speak the significance of your expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1986

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study presents independent research (part) funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. C.E.W. is funded through European Union's Seventh Framework Programme via Marie Curie Action, co-financed by the Junta de Andalucia and the European Commission under Talentia Postdocgrant agreement number 267226.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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