Chapter 12: Immunity of expert
In General Medical Council v Meadow  EWCA Civ the Court was unanimous in overruling the first instance decision of Collins J by that an expert witness is immune from disciplinary, regulatory or fitness to practise proceedings. (Interestingly, the point had been taken, not by the parties, but by the judge himself.) Giving the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sir A Clarke MR pointed out that the recognized principles governing expert evidence, identified by Cresswell J in National Justice Cia Naviera SA v Prudential Assurance Co Ltd (The Ikarian Reefer)  2 Lloyd's Rep 68, 81-82 and approved by Otton LJ in Stanton and Ors v Callaghan & Ors  EWCA Civ 1176, had recently been reflected and expanded in a document entitled "Protocol for the Instruction of Experts to give evidence in civil claims", which had been approved by Lord Phillips as Master of the Rolls. Paragraph 4 of the protocol states: "4.1 Experts always owe a duty to exercise reasonable skill and care to those instructing, and to comply with any relevant professional code of ethics. However when they are instructed to give or prepare evidence for the purpose of civil proceedings in England and Wales they have an overriding duty to help the court in matters within their expertise (CPR 35.3). This duty overrides any obligations to the person instructing them or paying them. Experts must not serve the exclusive interests of those who retain them" (Italics added). His Lordship did not rule out the possibility that there might be a case for some greater measure of protection to expert witnesses than exists at present being afforded to some classes of expert, but held that this was not the case with fitness to practise proceedings.
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