Trial Counsel for Law Firms

Expert Witnesses and Expert Reports

This article provides a few comments on expert reports.

The Right Expert

Good experts have the following characteristics:

  • They have excellent education and credentials;
  • They have tons of relevant work experience (not just report writing experience);
  • They have testified before and been qualified as an expert;
  • They are able to explain things concisely; and
  • They are likeable.

Getting the right expert requires reviewing C.V.s, checking references and ideally interviewing the expert in person.

The Right Report

Generally, experts cannot testify on things not in their report.  It may therefore be necessary to provide questions to trigger responses to key issues and possibly add follow up questions is something important is omitted or requires further explanation.

Rule 53.03(2.1) sets out 7 requirements for expert reports, summarized here:

  1. The expert’s name, address and area of expertise;
  2. Qualifications and experience in the area of expertise;
  3. The instructions provided;
  4. The nature of the opinion and the issues to which the opinion relates;
  5. The opinion;
  6. The reasons for the opinion, including the facts assumed, research conducted and documents relied on; and
  7. An acknowledgement of expert’s duty.  Please click here for a precedent acknowledgement of expert’s duty.

Deadlines

Expert reports are due 90 days before the pre-trial conference.  Responding reports are due 60 days before the pre-trial conference.

The Expert’s C.V. and Form 53

The expert’s C.V. and Form 53 may be introduced as exhibits, generally near the start of their testimony when being qualified as an expert.

More than 3 Experts

Section 12 of the Evidence Act permits up to 3 experts without leave.  If more than 3 experts are necessary, it is best to give notice of an intention to seek leave to call more than 3 experts.  Our article on Evidence Act notices in regards to medical experts demonstrates how to give notice.

Expert Reports, MVA cases and Threshold

A 3 part series on addressing the threshold through experts is available here:

This article is courtesy of the Ontario Civil Trial Manual

Click here for the Ontario Civil Trial Manual

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This manual is trial information, not trial legal advice.

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