Section 25 of the Civil Liability and Courts Acts 2004 (“2004 Act”) makes it a criminal offence for a person in a personal injuries action to give, or dishonestly cause to be given, evidence that is false or misleading in any material respect which he/she knows to be false or misleading.

Section 26 of the same legislation empowers a Court to dismiss a personal injuries action if the Plaintiff gives or dishonestly causes to be given, evidence that is false or misleading in any material respect which he/she knows to be false or misleading.

These legislative provisions were considered in a 2007 High Court action, Carmello v Tate(1).

The Plaintiff in this case argued that she suffered from facial numbness arising out of an RTA. The Defendant discovered during the proceedings that the Plaintiff had in fact suffered facial numbness in an accident seven months prior to the accident, the subject of this case.

Judge Peart dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim on the basis that she had knowingly given false and/or misleading evidence.

What to look for in an Expert Witness

  • Expertise – The expert should have the knowledge, experience, expertise and academic qualifications all relevant to the subject matter of the litigation.
  • Credibility - The expert should not have been the subject of any disciplinary actions or litigation which may compromise his credibility.
  • Availability - The expert should confirm that he/she will be available for pre-trial consultations and conference telephone calls and at the hearing of the action to give evidence. The expert should be appraised of the delays and uncertainty around hearing dates.
  • Costs - The expert’s report and stand-by fees should be reasonable and agreed in advance.
  • Timescales – A timescale for the production of the expert’s report should be agreed at the outset.
  • Court Experience – The expert, if possible, should have some prior Court experience.
  • Briefing – The expert should be properly briefed with all relevant information and documentation. The expert should be appraised of the Plaintiff’s expert views prior to giving evidence in Court.

High Court Terms and Sittings for Personal and Fatal Injury Actions

There is only one remaining High Court terms for 2010 and it is the Michaelmas term which runs from 4 October to 21 December.

The High Court term for 2011 are as follows:

Hilary  11 January to 15 April

Easter  2 May to 9 June

Trinity  22 June to 31 July

Michaelmas  3 October to 21 December

The High Court sittings for provincial Personal and Fatal Injury actions are set out below.

The sittings for the High Court terms in 2011 are as follows - to see the table please click here.