An expert in a trial is a witness who, unlike most witnesses, is permitted to give opinion evidence. These special witnesses are given such a privilege because they have demonstrated to the court that they “have acquired special or peculiar knowledge through study or experience in respect of matters on which he or she undertakes to testify”. These witnesses are to be independent, in the sense that their primary duty is to assist the court and not to advocate for a party. This duty was described aptly by Mr. Justice Finch (as he then was).
Researching decided cases is one of the great pleasures of practising law. I do not mean sitting behind a computer screen punching in key words. I mean pulling down a volume of law reports, blowing off the dust, guarding cuffs and lapels against disintegrating leather bindings, turning up the page with the sought-after case, taking time to see who the judges and counsel were, looking to the marginal notes to see when the case was cited, apld, consd, folld, qtd, aprvd, discd, distgd and ref’d to, then settling in to read every word of the headnote, argument if included, and the judgment; then, resisting the temptation to read the following and preceding cases, looking up the cites for the lower court decisions and finding and savouring them in the same way.