Supreme Court decision abolishes experts` immunity
In the Landmark decision in the case of Jones v Kaney, the Supreme Court has ruled, by a majority, that the 400 year-old principle that has protected expert witnesses from negligence claims against them should be abolished. Lord Phillips has ruled that the public interest in "a remedy for every wrong" takes precedence over the historical principle, which has been thought to make it easier for experts to comply with their duty to the Court by giving, if necessary, an opinion that was contrary to their client`s interests. He found that there would be no conflict between the expert who owes duties both to the Court and to his client and that therefore the removal of immunity was unlikely to diminish experts` ability or willingness to carry out their duties appropriately. The principle, it appears, may not be abolished in its entirety however, and there were dissenting judgments even in this case, but it is clear that the Jones v Kaney decision marks a seismic shift in the landscape for experts giving opinions in, or in anticipation of, Court proceedings.
Posted on: 11/04/2011
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