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Instructing the Expert

We encourage all instructing firms to contact us as soon as they identify a matter requiring expert opinion. We can then discuss the prospects of the matter, assist in understanding factual matters and the circumstances of an incident, identify documents to request by subpoena and determine the requirement to undertake a site inspection or inspection of plant.

 

All Expert Witness Reports will be scheduled according to date of receipt, availability of the Expert and priority. The earlier we are instructed, the greater ability our Experts have to meet deadlines.

 

It is particularly important to ensure that instructions are received prior to entering into a timetable agreement with the Court to lock in a completion date that will meet the Court’s expectations.

Supporting Evidence/Documentation

Upon accepting instructions, SAFEgroup will provide a list of documents/evidence required to assist in assessing liability. The following documents are applicable across all matters:

  • Photographs relevant to the incident in colour and in high resolution (where available), including the details of the date taken and source (e.g. name of photographer)

  • The Statement of Claim (Plaintiff matters)

  • Your client’s statement or any statements to be relied upon as evidence

  • Incident report and any internal investigations, inspections, audits or risk assessments undertaken in relation to the incident

  • Regulator records for the incident including any inspection/investigation/audit report, photographs, investigator notebook records, internal records management system data, WSMS Incident Notification Report, and any orders or notices issued to the Defendant including any improvement or prohibition notices

  • Investigation Reports for the incident by third party investigators or an insurance company

  • Court Orders/Schedule (if applicable)

The volume and quality of information the Expert is able to review will result in a stronger opinion. The Expert must be able to show the Court that the opinion expressed was formed on the basis of the factual matters, evidence and assumptions provided. However, evidence should only be provided if it is directly relevant to the Expert’s opinion.

Letter of Instruction: Initial Expert Report

The letter of instruction engaging an Expert must be provided to the Expert prior to any work being undertaken, including any preliminary advice, interview, site inspection and testing.  

 

​The letter of instruction should include:

  • Clearly identified parties, including roles/relationships

  • A summary/overview of the incident

  • Date of injury / period of nature and conditions injury and deemed date of injury

  • Assumptions (if required), which must be stated explicitly

  • Clear instructions to provide a written Expert Report or preliminary conference only

  • Questions required to be answered

  • Instructions to undertake a site inspection, slip test or inspection of plant (if required)

  • An itemised list of documents/evidence provided (copies provided in electronic form only). Including author, title and date

  • Any upcoming dates which will affect the lead time including Court Orders/Schedule for filing dates and subpoena returns dates, a copy of the Court Orders/Schedule is required if scheduled in advance

  • Contact details, including phone contact information to arrange an interview with the injured person

  • Name of Counsel (if engaged)

  • An instruction to comply with the applicable Expert Witness Code of Conduct and/or relevant Court Rules (see Resources for applicable code/rules).

The letter of instruction must be provided before an interview is scheduled with the injured person. 

Any changes to the scope of instructions, including but not limited to adding or removing parties in a matter, must be formalised in a written letter of instruction.

Download the checklist here.

Letter of Instruction: Supplementary Report

A further letter of instruction is required for supplementary reports setting out the following:

  • Any changes to the parties, including roles/relationships

  • Further or changed assumptions, which must be stated explicitly

  • Clear instructions/questions required to be answered

  • Details of other Expert Reports to be reviewed, including copies of all documents provided to the Expert in forming his/her opinion

  • An itemised list of further documents/evidence provided (copies provided in electronic form only)

  • Any upcoming dates which will affect the lead time including Court Orders/Schedule for filing dates and subpoena returns dates. A copy of the Court Orders/Schedule is required if scheduled in advance

Download the checklist here.

Contact us with your enquiry today!

Letter of Instruction: Joint Expert Report / Conclave

SAFEgroup requires as much notice as possible to secure a time for a conclave.

 

A letter of instruction must be prepared no less than 14 days clear of the conclave on behalf of all instructing solicitors jointly engaging the experts and should include:

  • Conclave details, including details for an independent scribe if applicable

  • Contact details of all Experts and instructing firms to forward a copy of the completed report

  • Details of Expert Reports to be reviewed, including copies of all documents provided to the Expert in forming his/her opinion

  • Clear instructions/questions to be addressed in the Conclave

  • Assumptions, which must be stated explicitly

  • An itemised list of documents/evidence to be considered by all Experts (copies provided in electronic form only)

  • An instruction to comply with the applicable Expert Witness Code of Conduct and/or relevant Court Rules (see Resources for applicable code/rules)

Download the checklist here.

Contact us to request an estimate or discuss report options

Certification JAS-ANZ Logo Combined 1200

Phone:   (02) 4933 9942 

 Email:  Expert.Reports@safegroup.com.au

 

 

© 2021 SAFEgroup Pty Ltd

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