A short warning about expert agendas: "Sometimes less is more as far as the agenda is concerned."

March 12, 2018

 

Mrs Justice Yip DBE, sitting at Manchester in DAVID JOHN SAUNDERS v CENTRAL MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST (2018), [2018] EWHC 343 (QB) 23 February 2018 gave the following short warning about expert agendas (Please see the 26 July 2018 post with round 2 of the same warning...)

 

The experts’ joint statement

34. Both experts provided clear reports that were easy to read; thorough and attractively presented with useful diagrams attached. However, their joint statement was disappointing. It was 60 pages long and did not fulfil the purpose identified in CPR 35PD 9.2 “to agree and narrow issues”. It seemed to me that the difficulty may have arisen not through the fault of the experts but through the way in which the agendas were drafted. I say “agendas” because, for reasons not explained to me, there had apparently been two separate agendas that the experts were required to consider. Both involved repetitive questions for the experts and far from producing a focus on the real issues, the result was a document that served only to confuse rather than assist.

 

35. I can see no good reason why the parties were unable to agree a single agenda in this case. Perhaps greater input from Counsel may have assisted. The joint statement is an important document. It ought to be possible to read it and to understand the key issues and each expert’s position on those issues. Sometimes less is more as far as the agenda is concerned. Parties should adopt a common sense and collaborative approach rather than allowing this stage of the litigation to become a battleground. Frankly, the approach to the joint statement in this case achieved nothing of value. 

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