Jurisdiction - Hong Kong
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Hong Kong – Expert Testimony Review.
20 August, 2013

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Hong Kong – Dispute Resolution

 

The review finds that lack of adherence to procedural requirements is the leading reason expert testimony and evidence is deemed inadmissible by Hong Kong judges.

 

Expert Testimony: A Year in Review 2012, Hong Kong edition is the inaugural publication of its kindProcedural issues; lack of independence; evidence adduced outside the defined scope or expertise; and variation in valuation methods are some of the key reasons that expert witness testimony and evidence is dismissed in Hong Kong court proceedings. This is according to findings in this recent report on expert witness services, Expert Testimony: A Year in Review 2012, Hong Kong edition.

 

Being a strong Expert Witness requires more than just subject matter expertise. While proficiency and expertise is essential, being able to use this knowledge and understanding in a legal context is extremely important. As such, Expert Witnesses should always endeavour to stay up-to-date with the current litigation procedures, including developments in court requirements and recent comments from the judiciary.   

 

The review examines the role of the Expert Witness and provides critical analysis of particular Hong Kong cases in which Expert Witnesses have played a significant part. The material in this review draws upon the comprehensive experience and knowledge of our Expert Witness team in Hong Kong, many of whom have garnered more than 10 years of experience in the field of Expert Testimony.   

 

The report examines the role of the Expert Witness and assesses a number of Hong Kong cases in which expert witnesses played a significant part. Of the cases highlighted, the leading reason Hong Kong judges dismissed evidence from expert witnesses was because they did not comply with the procedural requirements set down by the courts. Using case examples, the report demonstrates how procedural issues can become critical challenges in the context of a court proceeding, as shown this is particularly true in medical negligence case, KWAN YUEN MEI V. LEE, SEE CHING AND OTHERS and personal injury proceeding, TANG TAK PING V. KAI SHING CONSTRUCTION CO. AND ANOTHER.

 

In several of the researched cases, judges questioned whether the experts were truly independent; they noted that some expert witnesses had undermined their credibility by not being objective or by withholding information as directed by their engaging party. An expert that testifies beyond their area of expertise was another area of concern for the judiciary, including testimony that goes beyond an expert’s realm of knowledge and rather borders on personal beliefs, general knowledge or “common sense”.

 

Findings of the report also showed the significant challenges of using valuation reports from expert witnesses. Establishing how much a plaintiff should receive in damages is a process that can rely solely on experts to determine the potential loss of value in areas such as business and property. While there are different methods of establishing valuation, in a few of the cases referenced in report – including the highly publicised KAM KWAN SING V. KWAN LAI AND OTHERS that concerned well-known Yung Kee goose restaurant in Hong Kong – judges noted that the methods used by the expert witness were biased or questionable, leading them to ultimately dismiss those reports. Other issues, including experts’ qualifications and suitability were also defined as key issues to be considered when engaging an expert witness.

 

The case matters highlighted for the Expert Testimony Review were sourced from the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII) database for 2012. 21 cases were selected for assessment due to the nature of the judgments and the comments made by the judiciary during these particular proceedings regarding the expert witnesses or evidence.

 

More than a third of the specialists that provided expert witness services for civil proceedings were from the medical profession, while the largest pool of specialists for criminal matters – 32 per cent – came from the “other” category which included some of the more unique practitioners such as locksmiths, audio forensics, firearms, DNA profiling, forensic fire analysis and even gambling.

 

The review draws upon the experience and knowledge of the firm’s professionals, many of whom have garnered more than a decade of experience in the field of Expert Testimony.

 

To download a pdf of teh Expert Testimony: A Year in Review 2012, Hong Kong Edition, please click here. 

 

 

      

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Catherine Williams, Senior Managing Director, Forensic & Litigation Consulting

catherine.william[email protected]

 

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