The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has said it is improving its checks on the suitability of expert witnesses.
Its decision comes after it was criticised by the Court of Appeal for an “embarrassing debacle’’ caused by its use of a former Libor trader as a witness in a trial.
The changes include:
- Making due diligence checks before formal evaluation of expert witnesses;
- Ensuring individuals understand their legal duties and disclosure obligations at the earliest possible stage.
- Devising standard criteria to be used to assess possible expert witnesses.
Such vetting is, arguably, long overdue. The SFO suffered huge embarrassment when the Court of Appeal heard of the farce surrounding the “expert’’ it had relied on at trial.
But however much pre-trial vetting is carried out by the SFO, the scope will always remain for a switched-on defence team to challenge their claims and diminish their credibility in the eyes of the court.
Read our article: CHALLENGING WITNESS CREDIBILITY