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Expert witnesses in legal aid cases
  • Oct 31, 2018
  • Latest News

Guidance about expert witnesses in cases funded by legal aid, including fees, prior authority and provisions for specific types of expert.

Fees for expert witnesses
Forensic science laboratory charges in criminal matters
Clinical negligence experts
Risk assessment experts

Fees for expert witnessesRead guidance about expert witness fees, including:
maximum rates for different types of expert witness
how to apply for prior authority, including benchmarks for working ‘unusual’ hours
expert activity time guidelines
expert witness standards in family matters
arrangements for specific expert types, including independent social workers, experts in risk assessment, drug and alcohol testing and DNA testing

Expert witness fee guide


Forensic science laboratory charges in criminal matters
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has published guidance on the funding of forensic science laboratory charges in criminal matters.

The guidance sets out that appropriate charges levied upon the defence by prosecution forensic science laboratories may be payable by the LAA where the LAA considers the charge to be reasonable and has granted prior authority to incur the cost.

The guidance provides a list of activities that must not be claimed from the LAA. It also explains that payment for such services will be made in line with the Criminal Legal Aid (Remuneration)(Amendment) Regulations 2013.

Guidance on forensic science laboratory charges in criminal matters
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Clinical negligence experts
Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed that these rates will generally be acceptable as a starting point when an expert provides specialised and unusual evidence in a cerebral palsy case, and their evidence is key to the client’s case:

Clinical negligence expert fee guide

Risk assessment experts
You may need a specialist risk assessment expert if:
the court order specifies a risk assessment
the work to be done is over and above that requiring independent social work expertise (eg where there’s a conviction or pending proceedings for a sex offence, or where a finding of sexual abuse relevant to the case has been made by a court)
the report is specifically required to address the risk posed as a result of the above factors