Edwards v Bruce & Hyslop (Brucast) Ltd [2009] EWHC 2970 (QB)

In addition to the obligations owed to the parties, a single joint expert owes an overriding duty to the court to give advice on the issues, independent of the interests of the parties. He is in a position of considerable importance. Absent any legal issues, his opinions and conclusions will almost certainly be determinative of the case as a whole. He can no more have communications with just one party about the substance of his report, in the absence of the other side, than a judge can have a conversation on the telephone with one party, and not the other, about the strengths and weaknesses of that party’s case.

The court therefore held that the claimant should be allowed to produce a report of an additional expert, in light of the fact that the defendant’s solicitors had had unilateral communications with the joint expert, which resulted in the substance of his report undergoing signifi cant changes. To read the judgment, go to: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2009/2970.html.