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Expert evidence

Introduction

1. Whilst this section is addressed to expert witnesses, anybody in HSE who instructs experts, or requests assistance from specialists, should be aware of its contents. It applies both to external experts and inspectors acting as expert witnesses. Specific guidance on instructing experts and their role in an investigation can be found in ‘The expert’.

2. Specialist inspectors might be involved in an investigation either as part of the investigation team (albeit with specialist knowledge) or as an independent expert witness. The specialist knowledge of inspectors involved in an investigation may allow them to be treated as an expert witness in the event of a prosecution.

3. When an outside expert is instructed to advise, s/he should have the guidance in this section expressly drawn to his/her attention. In addition, s/he should be made aware that s/he may be required to give expert evidence if criminal proceedings are instigated. This will be especially important where an outside expert is not experienced in providing expert evidence in criminal proceedings.
In joint investigations with the police, you may find the expert is referred to the ACPO/CPS Guidance Booklet for Experts May 2010.  Although the general principles of this booklet are already captured within internal guidance and followed in HSE investigations, the entirety of the document has not been adopted therefore you do not need to refer experts to it outside of a joint police/HSE investigation

4. Guidance on specialist advice can also be found in the investigation operational procedure SE156]. Should advice be needed in a particular investigation, this can be obtained initially from your divisional legal liaison point who may refer you on to from Legal Adviser’s Office.

Updated 2011-01-13