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UK Supreme Court abolishes immunity for expert witnesses

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 31 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2096
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The United Kingdom Supreme Court has abolished the longstanding immunity expert witnesses have enjoyed from being sued for negligence, in a landmark judgment.

By a five-two majority, the UK’s highest court has swept away the rule that negligence claims cannot be brought against expert witnesses over anything said in court or in the preparation of reports for court proceedings.

The case was brought against a consultant clinical psychologist but will apply to all sorts of experts, including medical experts. Those who give expert evidence in court cases will now be well advised to carry insurance against negligence claims.

Paul Wynne Jones sued psychologist Sue Kaney, his own expert witness in a …

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