Expert witnesses may face new dento-legal risks

The longstanding principle that an expert witness is immune from being sued was overturned in the recent Supreme Court decision of Jones v Kaney.

Having lost their immunity, experts are now exposed to the risk of being sued in respect of evidence given in court, says Dental Protection

Kevin Lewis, dental director said: ‘Time will tell if the removal of expert witness immunity will lead to a significant increase in claims against expert witnesses. Members of Dental Protection are protected by an indemnity that extends to expert witness work and we will be closely monitoring the impact of this recent decision.’

‘As a matter of good practice, expert witnesses should follow the relevant guidelines and rules, including the Civil Procedure Rules and the General Dental Council’s guidance. Provided they follow these guidelines and standards, allegations of negligence can be rebutted.’

Mr Lewis added: ‘We would advise members who are involved in expert witness work to keep us fully informed about the type and extent of professional work they are doing, so that they have access to the appropriate indemnity at all times.’

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