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Expert Evidence - Small Claims

 

Expert evidence on websites in small claims cases can be as vital as in any case, to assist the Court and bring clarity to the position of either, or both parties. There are still aspects of small claims procedure worth bearing in mind:

  • You should seek permission to use expert evidence, sections of questionnaires provided by the Court will apply.
  • Whilst not obligatory, if both parties are seeking expert evidence, the Court is likely to prefer a single expert.
  • An expert giving oral evidence in small claims cases is unusual, normally a written report and written questions.
  • Even where you are able to recover expert witness costs, there is a set limit to the sum they can amount to, as below.

Recoverable Costs

The Ministry of Justice state that an objective of small claims is to meet "The need for parties to access justice without undue formality." Even though the claim limit is now £10,000, costs for legal advice are in the main not recoverable.

An area still worth considering, when substantial sums can be involved. For our work however, there is more leeway. The limit on recoverable expert costs is now set at £750.

This is for all stages, not just the written report. The increase is still welcome, we can in most cases work within, or below the limit, provide an accurate report to meet the needs of the Court.

Small Claims Approach

All courts wish to control the amount of expert evidence given and in small claims, strict rules of evidence do not fully apply, time is limited, a concise report may be preferred.

This does not make them less effective, or less needed. Bearing in mind the probable nature of website dispute cases, a well prepared report can be of value to the Court.

As with any report, instructions, key questions and required insight deserve a high level of care. The expert witness should simply bear in mind available court time and approach. By doing so, their report will become more effective, not less so.

Fulfiling Objectives

We hope you will have appreciated the need to outline the rationale of small claims evidence. These minor aspects apart, our expert witness service works in the same way as would apply for any court, the same level of expertise is offered.

The need to ensure expert evidence is easy to access and understand is an equal focus. Essential in small claims, with time and legal support levels often at a minimum.

Above all, our objective is to ensure legal fairness in the technical field of website disputes. By presenting neutral evidence to remove barriers and contribute to rational justice.