Expert Witness Training Day - December 2007 - A Huge Success!

It's process as well as content that's important!

One of the many messages that came from the initial AChiPPP Training Day on Expert Witness Skills. Whilst our psychological competence is not in question; to be a successful expert witness, psychologists have to learn how to deliver that knowledge effectively.


Expert Witness Skills

Acting as an Expert Witness, requires so much more than simply writing a report or giving oral evidence. Deborah Hay and John McKendrick, Barristers from Hardwicke Buildings pointed delegates in the right direction. Make sure you always act within your competence was the message but be sure you know the set up in any court or tribunal you're attending - High Court, Family Court, Criminal Court and Tribunals as they all have different contexts so your report and evidence needs to be adapted accordingly. 

Learn about the context and then you'll feel more confident acting as an expert witness. Report writing is of course a core part of being an expert and again there was advice as to best practice. AChiPPP was very grateful to Deborah and John for giving freely of their valuable time to help delegates address these issues. 


Professional Liability Insurance

[b]Steven Johnson[/b], Director of Howden Insurance was on hand to explain professional liability insurance and talked about the types of claims that have been made. Top of the list was claims for late reports so the message is if you want to be an expert witness learn to work within given deadlines or negotiate new ones at the outset. Steven highlighted the problem of claims being made long after people had stopped working which gave many of the delegates an uncomfortable view of the future if they didn't keep their insurance going through a 'run off' period.

Marketing Your Skills

For those just starting out - as well as for seasoned practitioners - Tom Clarke from the Expert Witness Directory was there to explain how the Legal Hub could help by acting as a communication bridge between legal professionals and expert witnesses. 


The day finished with experienced experts sharing their specialist knowledge of SENDIST, Family Court. Civil and Criminal courts in focused group discussions. A group looked at working co-operatively rather than taking the first dip into private practice on their own. Members and non-members agreed that having a day focusing solely on the needs of Psychologists made this training much more useful and relevant than generic Expert Witness Training.


Next Steps

For AChiPPP this is just the start. A second day on courtroom skills and giving oral evidence is planned just before Easter. 'Preparing for Private Practice' sessions at locations in both the North and South are also on the agenda for spring and early summer. Keep an eye on the AChiPPP website and AChiPPP email for confirmation of dates.

The Initial Training Day on Expert Witness Skills quickly reached its maximum numbers, please apply early to avoid disappointment for Day 2!