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

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

Back to News articles
Back to News articles

Sign up to email news

Sign up to receive email updates and regular legal news from Rollits LLP.

Sign up