The checking process

The directory is comprised of expert witnesses who live and work in Scotland, and expert witnesses who are based in other areas but are willing to travel to Scotland to work. New experts applying to be listed are required to demonstrate experience and ability in providing expert witness services, normally by providing references from two solicitors holding practising certificates who have instructed them within the last three years. The reference form asks the referee to rate from very good to very poor several aspects of the expert witness’ report: accuracy; understanding and analysis of the expert subject area; presentation; and adherence to timescale. Where the expert has presented evidence in court, referees are asked to rate their understanding of the court’s requirements, and the preparation, content and delivery of the expert’s evidence.

Referees are asked whether they have received any adverse comment from the judge or others which gives them cause to doubt the expert’s expertise and whether the referee would use the expert again or recommend the expert to other solicitors.

Where any of the ratings fall below ‘good’, the references are carefully scrutinised. Other than in very exceptional cases, low ratings lead to the expert’s exclusion from the listing of checked experts.

It is always the responsibility of the instructing practitioner to ensure that any expert witness possesses the knowledge and experience required for each individual case

Individual expert witnesses and corporate expert firms

All experts listed in a corporate entry must provide satisfactory references for their individual work as expert witnesses. In addition, all firms must supply the name of a main contact person.

Other referees

One reference must be from a solicitor from the same jurisdiction as the expert witness, who has instructed him/her within the last three years. The other reference, also pertaining to instruction as an expert within the last three years, may be given by:
• practising solicitors/lawyers from Scotland, England or Wales;
• Lawyer from another jurisdiction;
• Advocate in Scotland or Barrister in England, Wales, Ireland or Northern Ireland;
• Judge, Sheriff or holder of other judicial office.

Cases where references have not been required

There are certain cases where our reference requirements have been superfluous because the expert has already passed through a rigorous accreditation process which has included proven experience and understanding of expert witness work. In these cases, The Law Society of Scotland may accept experts who have worked for or been vetted by other organisations. The Law Society of Scotland will verify the procedures employed by other organisations to ensure that their procedures meet or exceed our requirements and will verify membership/employment where appropriate.

Inclusion of experts

If you would like us to send an application pack to any experts that you would like to recommend for inclusion in the directory, please contact us on 0131 476 8166 or email