Use of experts in legally aided cases
The expert’s role in the courts
Expert evidence should be the independent product of an expert witness uninfluenced by the pressures of litigation. The links on this page provide access to useful resources for expert witnesses, as well as legal advisers instructing expert witnesses.
Guidance on remuneration of expert witnesses
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has published updated guidance on remuneration for expert witnesses.
This guidance consolidates a number of separate guidance documents previously published by the LAA into one single reference document.
The new guidance document has been published to coincide with the new maximum expert rates introduced by the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013 and the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013.
- Lists maximum rates for particular expert types introduced from 1 April 2013 by the Remuneration Regulations
- Clarifies when providers should apply for prior authority, including benchmarks of ‘unusual’ hours below which prior authority should not be sought
- Outlines specific arrangements for certain types of expert, including risk assessment experts, drug and alcohol testing and DNA testing
Maximum rates for experts have been in place since October 2011, but the 2013 Remuneration Regulations introduce changes to some of the rates, including:
- Removing the London/non-London rate differentials for many of the expert types
- Introducing a new higher rate for surveyors working in housing disrepair matters
The remuneration regulations 2013 are on the legislation website:
Guidance on payment for risk assessment experts
The Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency have published guidance on how expert services identified as specialist risk assessments will be paid. The guidance highlights the factors that may arise in a case which would point to it being appropriate to pay the risk assessment rate. Factors that may typically point to the expert service being that of a specialist risk assessment expert include where:
a. The court order specifies that a risk assessment is required; and
b. The work to be done is over and above that requiring independent social work expertise, for example where:
- There is a substantiated criminal allegation relevant to the case in the immediate background of the case (such as a conviction or pending proceedings for a sex offence); and
- A finding of sexual abuse relevant to the case has been made by a court
c. And the report is specifically required to address the risk posed as a result of the above factors.
The guidance also clarifies that in considering claims where independent social work services are provided in non-family matters the LAA will have regard to the rates set out in regulations. Where there is no comparable rate in the regulations - for example for a social worker providing social work services - the LAA will have regard to the comparable rates for independent social work services in family matters introduced in the regulations.
Resources on instructing experts
We have provided guidance on funding attendance at court. We have also compiled a list of links which provide information on court rules, protocols and procedures which expert witnesses must comply with across several categories of law.
Resources for expert witnesses
Guidance materials for expert witnesses have been provided by a range of organisations including the Crown Prosecution Service and the Expert Witness Institute.
- Skills for Justice - National Occupational Standards - Provide expert evidence to courts and hearings
We are not responsible for the content or reliability of linked websites. Listing should not be taken as endorsement of any kind. We cannot guarantee that these links will work all the time and we have no control over the availability of linked pages.
Expert evidence should be the independent product of an expert witness uninfluenced by the pressures of litigation. Experts assist the court by providing objective, unbiased opinion on matters within their expertise. The links on this page provide access to useful resources for expert witnesses, as well as legal advisers instructing expert witnesses.