22 / 100

Expert Witness Rules

Expert witnesses in the various Australian legal jurisdictions face a myriad of varied rules and codes of conduct.

These govern their specific obligations as expert witnesses providing expert evidence to the court. While for the most part the general requirements of these obligations are similar, there are some nuanced differences between jurisdictions which expert witnesses must note.

Expert and lay witness contact
About witness courses
Furthermore, these differences exist at all stages of the judicial process, including:

1. How instructions are to be issued and received;
2. What written expert reports must contain;
3. Experts’ ongoing duties to court; and
4. Obligations while giving testimony in court.

The following table outlines and provides links to the various rules and codes of conducts for expert witnesses in civil matters when providing expert evidence across the various Australian jurisdictions.

Rules of Expert Evidence – An Overview

Jurisdiction

Evidence Act

Civil Procedure Rules relating to Expert Evidence

Expert Witness Code of Conduct

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory [ACTSC]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 2011 (ACT)Court Procedures Rules 2006 (ACT) Part 2.12 Expert Evidence Rules 1200—1246Schedule 1 Expert Witness Code of Conduct
Federal Court of Australia [FCA]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 1995 (Cth)Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) Rule 5.04 and Part 23 Experts RR 23.01—23.15Expert Evidence Practice Note (GPN-EXPT) 2016 including Annexure A: Harmonised Expert Witness Code of Conduct
Supreme Court of New South Wales [NSWSC]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 1995 (NSW)Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) Rules 31.17—31.54Schedule 7 Expert Witness Code of Conduct
Supreme Court of the Northern Territory [NTSC]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 2011 (NT)Supreme Court Rules (NT) Order 44 Expert Evidence-
Supreme Court of Queensland [QSC]Common law Evidence Act 1977 (Qld)Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) Ch 11, Part 5, Division 2 Rules 423—429S-
Supreme Court of South Australia [SASC]Common law Evidence Act 1929 (SA)Uniform Civil Rules 2020 (SA) Part 14, Rule 151.4 and 172.3Uniform Civil Rules 2020 (SA) Part 14 Division 3 – Expert Code of Conduct
Supreme Court of Tasmania [TSC]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 2001 (Tas)Supreme Court Rules 2000 (Tas) Part 19 Division 5 Expert Opinion Evidence Rules 514—517Supreme Court Of Tasmania Practice Direction No 1 of 2016 – Expert Evidence Code of Conduct
Supreme Court of Victoria [VSC]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 2008 (Vic)Supreme Court Rules 2005 (Vic) Order 44 Expert Evidence Rules 44.01—44.06Form 44A Expert Witness Code of Conduct
Supreme Court of Western Australia [WASC]Common law Evidence Act 1906 (WA)Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (WA) Order 36A Expert Evidence Rules 1—9District Court of WA: Consolidated Practice Directions & Rules to Practitioners 2019: Annexure 3: Code of Conduct – Expert Witnesses (PD 11)
Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia [FCFC]Uniform Evidence Act Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) and Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) Part XI – Procedure and EvidenceFamily Law Rules 2004 Part 15.6 and Family Law Regulations 1984Family Law Rules 2004 Division 15.5.5
*Note the above table summarising the rules for expert witnesses has been adapted from that contained in the MTECC publication: The rules for expert evidence in Australia by Donald Charrett.
Generally, instructions to the expert witness from instructing solicitors should specify the relevant rules and codes of conduct applicable to the expert witness and any report. Often a copy of the rules etc. will also be provided to the expert. Should an expert witness have any queries as to the relevant rules and codes of conduct applicable they should ask their instructing solicitor to clarify.

Learn more about our
expert witness courses

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up here to get the latest news, updates
and tips directly to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!