Expert evidence: controlling costs / focusing issues

The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has approved an amendment to CPR Part 35 to implement Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendation that parties seeking permission for expert evidence should provide the court with an estimate of the costs of that evidence (as anticipated in our September update Jackson reforms: taking stock). The aim is to make it easier for the court to exercise its existing power to limit the amount recovered from an opponent in respect of experts’ fees and expenses.

The Committee has also approved an amendment proposed more recently by Lord Justice Jackson, following on from points raised during his costs review. The amendment aims to encourage the focusing of expert evidence, by requiring parties to identify the issues that evidence will address at the time of seeking permission. Currently the requirement is just to identify the field in which expert evidence is required. The amendment also spells out that the order granting permission may specify the issues which the expert evidence should address.

These amendments will be held over until the general implementation date for rule changes to implement the Jackson reforms, to coincide with implementation of the legislation introducing some of the key reforms to costs and funding (anticipated for October 2012).

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