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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Role of Experts in the Discovery Process

Picture of a chair. Caption reads 'Role of Experts in the Discovery Process'
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

The expert becomes involved in formal discovery in three ways:

  1. The expert may help generate questions for the opposition in deposition and cross-examination.
  2. The expert may advise in response to the opposition's questions.
  3. The expert may be the person responding to written and verbal questions before the trial.

To assist or participate in formal discovery in a meaningful way, the expert must be:

  • Professionally and technically competent.
  • Conversant with current literature, practice and procedure in his area of expertise.
  • Familiar with the evidence in the case.
  • Close to reaching a preliminary opinion.
  • Well-schooled in the art of brevity.
  • Informed about ethical guidelines that attend the discovery process.

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