Singapore 2019

Dr Thomas Walford completes lecture tour in Singapore

Thomas Walford, CEO of Expert Evidence and also a Governor of the Expert Witness Institute has completed his third lecture tour in Singapore. The aim of the lecture tour is twofold; to assist lawyers in the instruction of Experts and also assist experts in understanding their role in the litigation process.

The process of the instruction of an expert needs to be completed correctly and with increasing emphasis on the maintenance of independence and impartiality of expert witnesses, this is of great importance. Sir Peter Cresswell, the English Judge in 1993 put it very well in his Ikarian Reefer judgement that Experts “should be, and should be seen to be, the independent product of the expert uninfluenced as to form or content by the exigencies of litigation.” There have been numerous cases where judges have criticised experts for not following this principle, and part of the role of an instructing solicitor is to assist the expert in exercising this duty to the court. Each major legal jurisdiction has its own rules in the conduct of expert witnesses and instructing solicitors need to ensure that these rules are formally part of the experts brief and instructions.

An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject, and how to avoid them.”
Werner Heisenberg

Experts have been used in Asia for many years. Singapore remains a centre of excellence in many disciplines and particularly in Shipping, Construction and Medicine. Given the emphasis on deciding international cases, Singapore has formed the Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC’) and practices English Common Law. Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and others are also developing their own ability in this area and not only in litigation but also in Mediation and Arbitration.

As the world becomes more complex, so there is an increasing need for the courts to understand the principles involved and for experts to explain to the court their specialist knowledge. Whether it is a civil or criminal case, the precedents that exist in the appropriate industry are important any decision and so the addition of this input is important. In addition the courts have become more conscious of ensuring that they receive the advice in the right way. It is not for the expert to be an advocate. Each individual jurisdiction has built up its own set of rules and these need to be understood and applied – for greater detail on these please see: What constitutes bias in an expert witness?

A wide number of experts are already based in Singapore and as a result Dr Walford gave a series of lectures on.

  • Terms and Conditions of engagement;
  • The Role of the Expert Witness in dispute resolution;
  • Instructing an Expert Witness – a guide for lawyers;
  • Giving Evidence in International Courts, the rules and some points to remember for Cross Examination;
  • The Experts’ Meeting/Discussion – knowing your opponent;
  • Terms and Conditions – what an expert should think about in defining the relationship with a law firm for Expert work; and
  • Using an Expert Witness Effectively – case studies of note and the contribution an expert can make.

Dr Walford gave the lectures to the academies of the law firms based in Singapore and also at the Singapore Academy of Law. It is believed that these are the only lectures currently aimed specially at the expert witness part of the litigation and dispute regulation process. Dr Walford gave the lectures on behalf of Expert Evidence and also the Expert Witness Institute, which is a body specifically aimed at assisting experts. For membership details please see the EWI website at https://www.ewi.org.uk/

If any institution, law firm or legal body would appreciate Dr Walford to seek to give a lecture to their members or employees please get in touch so it can be factored into the next tour via the contact page.

Expert Evidence Limited prides itself on assisting throughout the legal process where required and is a professional firm concentrating on the four main areas of dispute resolution; acting as expert witnesses in financial litigation, mediation, arbitration and adjudication. The firm has a civil, criminal and international practice and has advised in many recent cases. Areas of specialisation include banking, lending, regulation, investment, and tax.

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Disclaimer – Please confirm any of the above views with your solicitor. Expert Evidence takes no responsibility or provides any guarantee that the views above are correct for your particular case or jurisdiction.