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Solicitors are finding it increasingly difficult to find a suitable person prepared to act as an expert witness. Professionals who traditionally were prepared to act as experts are today thinking twice before accepting an appointment. Only recently, leading medics and paediatricians tabled a motion of no confidence in the General Medical Council (GMC), partly due to its finding that Dr Roy Meadow was guilty of serious professional misconduct as a result of the expert evidence he gave. Today, any potential expert knows that if he gets it wrong, he could find himself publicly criticised in a judgment – or worse.

Any potential expert is right to think carefully before accepting an appointment, as the duties owed by an expert must be strictly observed. However, the question remains as to whether an expert who breaches his duties should be liable for those breaches, or whether the expert should have total immunity from suit.

This raises a number of questions:

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