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The Expert Witness

It has become increasingly common for professionals to appear as expert witnesses at hearings, administrative tribunals, inquiries or in court to resolve matters of a scientific or technical nature. This often causes extreme anxiety and uncertainty. However, it can be a professionally rewarding experience.

In order to be prepared and feel confident, it is important to understand the process and learn certain skills. This seminar provides information about the fundamental concepts of being an effective and professional witness.

Presentation techniques include role plays and group discussion. Personal experiences as an expert witness in hundreds of court cases are shared with the group.

The objectives of this seminar are to :

A. Understand the role of an expert witness

B. Become familiar with the characteristics of an effective expert witness

C. Outline important concepts for expressing written and verbal opinions

D. Learn effective ways of clearly communicating scientific and technical
information to the layperson(s) in an adversarial system

Outline

Role of the Expert Witness
Collection of Information and Record Keeping
Preparation of Reports
Characteristics of an Effective Expert Witness
Advance Preparation
Attendance in Court or Other Proceedings
mental preparation; methods of dealing with nervousness
maintaining appearance of objectivity in an adversarial environment
tips on dealing with criticism and aggressive cross-examination
meaningful presentation of calculations and statistics
use of visual aids
"Do's and Don'ts" for the Expert Witness

Comments from previous seminar participants

" My first appearance in court was a disaster. I never wanted to testify again. After this course, I feel more prepared for the next time….."

"Everyone in my department should be required to take this course before going to court…."

"Changes in the environmental legislation will mean even more appearances in tribunals and court in the future. This course was very helpful."

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Last modified: September 25, 1999