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Civil legal expert examination in Ireland

Extract from the final Eurexpertise report

All rights reserved EEEI © 2012

Contributing correspondent

  • Paul GILIGAN, Judge at the High Court


  • Daniel CHABANOL, Honorary (French) State Councilor
  • Patricia GRANDJEAN, Councilor at the Versailles Court of Appeals (France)

Other administrative order


I. Procedural rules in calling for an expert examination

I. 1) On the initiative of

Except for litigation about physical injury compensation for which the judge can unilaterally appoint an expert, the decision to call for one belongs to the litigants.

I.2) Mandatory expert examinations


I. 3) Decision-maker

Generally the litigants

The judge when it concerns physical injury compensation

I. 4) Is a pre-trial expert examination possible?


II. Choice and appointment of the expert(s)

II. 1) Register


II. 2) Oath


II. 3) Choice of the Expert

The expert appointed by the judge is usually picked from the register of experts held by the President of the High Court along with the presidents of the Circuit Courts and District Courts.

II. 4) Participation by the parties in the appointment process

The judge does not appoint the expert except in cases involving compensation for personal injury. In all other matters only the parties can call for experts of their choosing.

II. 5) Nationality


II. 6) Recusal by the litigant parties

The expert must remain unbiased even if he is appointed by the parties. If he appears to be biased, there is a debate before the judge on his credibility and the probative value of his report.

II. 7) Expert’s withdrawal (refusal of a mission)

The expert is free to turn down a party’s request.

II. 8) Possibility of adding another expert


II. 9) Possibility of being assisted by a colleague


III. Definition of the expert’s mission

III. 1) Who determines the mission?

The party that calls for the expert opinion defines his mission.

The expert is this party’s technical consultant.

III. 2) Type of mission


IV. Progress of the expert’s mission

IV. 1) Judge supervision

NO, but ex-post assessment of the probative value of the expert opinion

IV. 2) Form of contradictory procedure

There is no contradiction during the mission the expert acts alone and independently and submits a written report to the party that appointed him. The contradiction is introduced by the notification of the report - written according to the rules of disclosure - and later at the hearing, during which examination or cross-examination questions may include the work carried out by another party’s expert.

The expert has a duty of impartiality but remains the expert of the party that has appointed him.

At the hearing he will be questioned by both parties (examination followed by cross-examination).

IV. 3) Participation in the hearing

The expert submits his report to the litigant who appointed him.

He is summoned to a hearing and may be interrogated by the opposing side.

V. Close of the expert examination

V. 1) Does conciliation put an end to the expert’s mission?

Not applicable, expert-witness system.

V. 2) Form imposed on the report

There is no imposed form for the report.

V. 3) Does the report put an end to the expert’s mission?

After a written report has been submitted, the expert gives oral evidence before the jurisdiction.

V. 4) Is there an imposed structure for the report?


V. 5) Is a preliminary report mandatory?


V. 6) Is the judge bound by the expert’s conclusions?

No,, but the judge must argue his decision not to follow an expert’s conclusions.

The mission entrusted to an expert is not submitted to any specific framework and merely results from one party’s wish to support its position with evidence.

The judge assesses its probative value.

V. 7) Possibility of a second opinion

Cross-examination in fact takes place by confronting the expert opinions produced by both parties to the trial and through the questioning (cross-examination) of the experts each party can decide to call for another expert opinion to refute the findings of the opposing party’s expert.

VI. Funding for the expert examination

VI. 1) Security-Payment

When the judge appoints the expert, he states which litigant will have to pay for this measure.

When the expert is appointed by a litigant, the litigant directly pays the technician. After the litigation, the matching costs are put in the same basket as the proceedings costs with which the judge has burdened one of the parties.

VI. 2) Determining the amount of payment due


VI. 3) Possibility of additional payment


VI. 4) Determining fees and costs

When the expert is appointed by a litigant, the fees and costs are determined between the litigant and himself.

VI. 5) Possibility of contesting the fees

Not applicable

VII. Expert liability within proceedings

VII. 1) Are there any laws governing expert examinations?

There are no other texts regulating expert examinations than the texts on the rules of evidence.

VII. 2) Expert liability

The expert is immune from criminal prosecution relative to the mission he carries out.

Irish law provides for the same immunity for experts as for any other witness, and this protects them from libel claims pertaining to their testimony.

VII. 3) Mandatory insurance for the expert

Not applicable

VIII. The expert’s status

VIII. 1) Existence of selection criteria (accreditation)

Not applicable

VIII. 2) Classification of skills

Not applicable

VIII. 3) Required qualifications

There is no register each expert solicited by a party must show evidence of his competence when he is heard before the judge so that the probative value of his work can be assessed.

VIII. 4) Grant of accreditation

Not applicable

VIII. 5) Possibility of accrediting a legal person

Not applicable

VIII. 6) f) Validity period for the accreditation

Not applicable

VIII. 7) Regular assessment tests

There is no association of experts or official representative body. There is no mechanism for the regular control of experts’ activities.

VIII. 8) Supervision of the expert’s mission


VIII. 9) Expert’s activity report


VIII. 10) Code of ethics

The expert must be impartial even when he is appointed by a litigant.

VIII. 11) Good practice


VIII. 12) Possibility of penalties


VIII. 13) Laws governing the expert’s status


IX. Bibliography


  • Eurexpertise final report - Ireland (pdf 222.4 kb) Download
Institut Européen de l’expertise et de l’expert
Mailing address  : EEEI Jean-Raymond LEMAIRE, 38, rue de Villiers - 92532 Levallois-Perret cedex - France Tel : +33(0)1 41 49 07 60 - Fax : +33(0)1 41 49 02 89