Expert testimony

Expert testimony

Why It is Only a Lawyer who should Examine and Cross Examine Expert Witnesses

What is Expert Testimony?

The Canadian judicial system relies heavily on expert testimony. This is testimony presented by an expert who has special knowledge in the subject matter in terms of an opinion to a trier-of-fact (a lay person who is either a judge or a jury of one’s peers) to assist the trier-of-fact reach a reasonable judgment. As an example, either party may call in a Gynaecologist in a rape case to describe to the trier-of-fact what to expect in a case of rape, with the aim of either proving or disproving that there was rape, depending on the side bringing in the witness.

The expert does not testify on the specific facts of the case, but only gives an opinion that can allow the trier-of-fact to draw inferences. According to Section 657.3, any party can adduce expert evidence without the other party having to give rebuttal evidence.

According to 657.3 (1), expert evidence may be given in the form of a report that is accompanied by a solemn declaration or an affidavit of the said expert detailing his/her qualifications. You can only be considered as an expert if:

  • A notice for expert testimony has been submitted to the court with your name and your area of expertise
  • After going through your qualifications, the court recognizes that you are an expert in your field
  • The party bringing in the evidence had, before the proceedings kicked off, given a copy of the solemn declaration or affidavit to the other party as well as reasonable time (30 days)
  • In case the court requires some clarification of what is in the solemn declaration or affidavit or the report, that you appear before it for examination and cross-examination

The judge cannot deny you the right to call in expert witnesses. However, Section 7 of the Canada Evidence Act requires that if you want to call in more than 5 witnesses, you must get leave of the court. The judge can only adjourn proceedings, seek witness particulars, or order compliance.

Why Hire a Lawyer to Examine and Cross-Examine Expert Witnesses?

At Costa Law Firm, we understand the Mohan requirements that expert witnesses must possess to qualify as witnesses.

We will advise the expert witness on the type of evidence to produce, given that the law expects the evidence to be impartial, with no bias or appearance of bias. We will assist you to get experts in different fields since courts have been known to reject some experts such as in R v Docherty [2010] OJ No. 3460.

Examining and cross-examining an expert witness is very complex because there are different rules for experts in different fields and because you can only ask hypothetical questions to the expert.

When you hire us, we will fight to have prosecutor’s expert evidence excluded if the witness is only giving personal opinion (there is no indicia of scientific knowledge) or if the time required, cost, or prejudicial effect outweighs probative value of the evidence.

We are available on 416-535-6329 or info@costalawfirm.ca for a free 20 minutes consultation.

Evelyn Burnette
Evelyn Burnette
06:08 12 Mar 18
We have a family business and one day we found ourselves in a legal situation in which we felt completely overwhelmed and helpless. We quickly realized there’s a whole different world out there that we know nothing about. Reached out to David and he quickly wrapped himself around our case. We know he was working around the clock. In a matter of days, we had a solid argument. He is sharp, candid and a true professional. Not sure how an attorney can help a client ANY better. Absolutely no hesitation recommending him.
Julia Austerlitz
Julia Austerlitz
00:15 10 Mar 18
When I was looking for a divorce lawyer, the most important thing to me was finding someone who would be easy to communicate with. I was anticipating a nasty custody battle and the last thing I wanted was a lawyer who was hard to get a hold of or who didn’t make me feel like my case was a priority. David Costa and Robin Mann were exactly what I was looking for. They responded quickly to all of my emails, took all of my concerns very seriously and above all, is very knowledgeable about family law. This was such a difficult phase of my life and they helped me to get through to the end of it with the best possible outcome. I highly recommend this law firm.
Ben Valencia
Ben Valencia
12:47 09 Mar 18
Mr. Costa and his wonderful assistant couldn't have been anymore professional. It's unfortunate I had to meet them under these circumstances but I wouldn't have chosen anyone different to represent me if I could. They’ve always kept me up to date on things I needed to get done and both were available when I had questions. They are first class in my book.
Daniel Hardison
Daniel Hardison
06:56 09 Mar 18
Have utilized David's services several times over the last five years. He always is quick to respond (even when he was on vacation), knows the real estate business inside out. His expertise always gives me the confidence the deal is done right.
Kate Miller
Kate Miller
20:08 13 Dec 17
Costa Law were a tremendous help in solving my legal issues. David and his team were professional, efficient, thorough and compassionate. Everyone involved capably assisted me in understanding the issues and the possible outcomes. I could not be happier with the results and would encourage anyone needing legal help to contact them. Best law group in the town. Thanks to everyone at Costa Law!!!
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