By Victoria Weldon

A new training course for expert witnesses in Scotland is aiming to improve evidence standards across the country’s legal system.

The Expert Witness Certificate, provided by training firm Bond Solon and the University of Aberdeen, will offer a unique programme for experts - including technical or medical professionals - who appear in court in criminal and civil cases.

This is the first training course in Scotland despite similar programmes being available in England and Wales for more than 20 years.

Solicitor Mark Solon, founder of Bond Solon, said: “Expert witnesses are specialists in a particular field who assist the courts in understanding technical issues. They’re independent of the case and they are there to help the judge.

“The problem has been that, in Scotland, which has quite a lot of litigation, so far there has been no formal training for these experts.

“They were coming to England to be trained because there was nothing available in Scotland. The problem with that is it’s a different legal system. So while there are many parallels, it’s not spot on for the Scottish system.

“This course offers training specific to Scotland and offers advice on how to write a legal report, how to be cross-examined in court, and knowledge of basic court procedure.”

Bond Solon will provide the training, while the university will independently assess the work.

To complete the course, participants will have to provide an example of a legal report, take part in a filmed mock cross-examination and sit an exam on law and procedure as it applies to expert witnesses.

The Law Society of Scotland currently has a directory of experts and has agreed to include a note where experts have been certified by Aberdeen University.

An online launch event for the course will take place on Thursday, with the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC taking part.

Paul Mosson, executive director of Member Services and Engagement at the Law Society of Scotland, will also appear at the event, and claims the course will be beneficial to solicitors and their clients.

“Expert witnesses have an important role to play in our legal system,” he said. “Which is why we maintain a directory to help our members choose the right experts for their client cases.

“These experts of course need to have the right qualifications and necessary experience in their field, but it is also important that they know how to write court-compliant reports, are able to provide compelling, credible and authoritative oral evidence, and understand the applicable law and procedure.

“The new Expert Witness Certificate will allow experts involved in civil and criminal proceedings to gain a deeper understanding of the courts and their duties as an expert witness, as well assisting solicitors and their clients who depend on their knowledge and expertise.”

Mr Solon said he hopes the course will provide the “gold standard” for expert witnesses in Scotland.

He said: “We’re hoping that this course will be the start of improving the standards of expert witnesses in Scotland and also improve the whole legal system because there are many, many cases which require expert witnesses.

“We’ve been training experts in England and Wales for more than 20 years so we know what is required.”

Professor Margaret Ross, of Aberdeen University, added: “This is the first university certificated expert witness programme in Scotland.

“The Certificate enables experts to demonstrate to both instructing solicitors and the courts that they have been assessed and hold the core and requisite competencies to act as an expert witness.”

The training course, which will welcome its first batch of experts in January, will run for four days. It will be held in different locations across Scotland.

The virtual launch event be held via Zoom at 4.45pm on Thursday. For more information visit