Roger Isaacs of Milsted Langdon looks at proposals put forward for expert witnesses in the Family Courts to have minimum standards
The Ministry of Justice is due shortly to issue mandatory minimum standards for expert witnesses providing evidence in the family courts. It is likely that, once adopted by the family court, similar standards will be issued to apply to other areas of litigation.
Those instructing accountancy (or indeed any) expert witnesses, should not only be aware of the new rules but would also be well advised to include in any letters of instruction to experts a request that the experts confirms their compliance with the standards.
By doing so, the experts will confirm that they have relevant expertise and experience and that they comply with the appropriate Continuing Professional Development requirements.
“a requirement for experts to have a current practicing certificate”
If the terms of the Standards are in line with those that appeared in the draft that was submitted for consultation, there will be a requirement for experts to have a current practicing certificate. Instructing solicitors may assume that any reputable accountancy expert witness will have a practicing certificate as a matter of course but that may well not be the case.
In particular the requirement for experts to have practicing certificates is likely to have an impact on expert accountancy witnesses from the Big Four and other larger accountancy practices whose expert witnesses are frequently “Directors” or “Senior Managers” but may not be partners in their firms. Those who are not principals of their firms may well never have had to have applied for practicing certificates.
Roger Isaacs is a partner at Milsted Langdon and can be contacted on email@example.com or at
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