New Family Law Rules on Expert Evidence
As recently as last week a new set of family law rules relating to evidence have come into force, namely the use of expert reports in cases. More often than not in cases, the evidence is submitted to the court from an individual claiming to be an “expert” when in reality these reports are more casual.
The Courts of Justice Act now requires that claims under the Divorce Act or Children’s Law Reform be accompanied by joint litigation experts that may be subject to a preliminary review. The rules also list the following requirements for expert reports:
1) Expert’s name;
2) Their area of expertise;
3) The expert’s education and employment history;
4) The nature of the opinion being sought and its relevance to the case at hand;
5) The instructions they were provided; and
6)The expert’s reasoning for their conclusions
The rules, in turn, are said to provide a much less biased use of experts because parties may not always be permitted to retain another expert of their own if they are displeased with the current one’s opinion. From a monetary perspective, bringing in expert witnesses can be expensive and it may be wise for the parties and counsel to settle the matter themselves. Yet, some cases can be settled much sooner with their participation, thus making their inclusion relevant on a case-by-case basis.