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4.14.1.1 - Charge: Uncontested Expert Evidence

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This charge may be given where expert witnesses give opinion evidence about a matter on which they unanimously agree.[1]

See Directions Under Jury Directions Act 2015 for information on when directions are required.

Alternative Charges

If expert witnesses give conflicting evidence, use Charge: Contested Expert Evidence instead.

If a lay witness gives opinion evidence, use Charge: Lay Opinion Evidence.

I must now give you directions about expert evidence.

[Insert names of expert witnesses] were asked by the [prosecution/defence] to give evidence about [describe issue] because they are experts in the field. [If appropriate, describe the experts’ fields of expertise, qualifications and experience].

In the course of giving evidence, these witnesses expressed their opinions about [describe issue and summarise experts’ opinions].

Ordinarily, witnesses are not allowed to give their opinions in court. They must confine their evidence to their own observations. This is because it is you who are the judges of facts, and so usually it is only your opinion that is relevant.

However, the law says that people with specialised knowledge or training are allowed to give their opinions about matters within their field of expertise, if that may assist you in making your decision.

In this case, the evidence of [insert names of expert witnesses] may assist you in determining [explain permissible uses of the expert evidence and any limitations on use].

Role of Jury

You are not required to accept NOW’s opinion. You are the judges of fact in this case, and even though NOW are experts in their fields, their opinions are merely pieces of evidence like any other, which you may accept or reject.

When assessing NOW’s opinion, you should consider factors such as [describe any factors relevant to the assessment of NOW’s evidence, such as his/her qualifications, objectivity, or comparison process. Summarise any evidence and/or arguments addressing these factors].

You will, however, appreciate that the [prosecution / defence] does not challenge NOW’s evidence, nor his/her expertise.

[Where relevant add additional directions concerning particular types of expert evidence. See:

[If appropriate, summarise and explain any relevant prosecution and defence arguments in relation to the witnesses.]

 

Notes

[1] Although this charge has been designed for use where multiple witnesses give evidence about which they unanimously agree, it can also be used (with appropriate modifications) in cases where only one expert witness gives uncontested evidence.

Last updated: 29 June 2015

See Also

4.14.1 - General Principles of Opinion Evidence

4.14.1.2 - Charge: Contested Expert Evidence

4.14.1.3 - Charge: Lay Opinion Evidence