Last week Lady Justice Rafferty told a conference of expert witnesses to use plain language and avoid ‘prolixity’. Well, we all know what prolixity is (don’t we?), but what is plain language – it’s ‘call a pneumothorax a punctured lung’, and all that stuff. And experts should identify what the real issues are in a case and address them.
Of course any expert who has heard me speak on the subject over the last 20 years, or read ‘Writing Medico-Legal Reports in Civil Claims – an essential guide’ since the first edition was published in 2011, or attended training with me and Professional Solutions, knows that already. So hopefully they are all putting it into practice and merely nod when they hear it again. And instructing lawyers should of course show impatience every time they pick up an expert report which breaks these golden rules and take issue with their expert, for the sake of the lawyer using the report and the judge trying to make sense of it.
And don’t forget – the expert witness must be succinct, concise and analytical (Harman v East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 1662).
[Who or what is medico-legal minder? Terms and conditions apply]