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Experts in the Australian hot tub: The Australian concurrent evidence reform and why it should be adopted by the Swedish legal system

Eriksson, Hans (2009)
Department of Law
Abstract
Concurrent expert evidence is a modern method of hearing expert witnesses in court that was created in Australia over the last decade. Concurrent evidence is about a new way of hearing expert witnesses that promises profound and well-needed change to expert evidence jurisprudence in Australia and conceivably the world. Expert witnesses are court actors with specialized expert knowledge. The idea behind having expert evidence presented at trial is that experts will be able to communicate this expert knowledge to the members of the court and thus enable the judges to better understand complex issues in a particular case. Over the years significant problems inherent to expert evidence jurisprudence including soaring costs and time constraints... (More)
Concurrent expert evidence is a modern method of hearing expert witnesses in court that was created in Australia over the last decade. Concurrent evidence is about a new way of hearing expert witnesses that promises profound and well-needed change to expert evidence jurisprudence in Australia and conceivably the world. Expert witnesses are court actors with specialized expert knowledge. The idea behind having expert evidence presented at trial is that experts will be able to communicate this expert knowledge to the members of the court and thus enable the judges to better understand complex issues in a particular case. Over the years significant problems inherent to expert evidence jurisprudence including soaring costs and time constraints as well as overt expert bias has festered in legal systems all over the world. Concurrent evidence seeks to mitigate these problems. In both Australia and Sweden expert witnesses have traditionally been heard one by one in a sequential manner at trial. The novel invention of the Australian concurrent evidence reform is that the court hears two or more experts simultaneously, saving significant amounts of time and expense for the court. During the hearing, experts are also allowed and encouraged to ask each other questions and are made to emphasize the differences and similarities of their views. The open and collegial setting of this method, as opposed to the often confrontational and partisan atmosphere of traditional expert hearings, has led to the coining of the term ''hot tubbing''. It has also led to positive effects for the expert witnesses themselves who find it easier to present their findings in a less partisan setting and for the members of the court who are able to understand complex matters much better with the help of the questions the experts ask each other and by minimizing the influence of the parties' lawyers. This thesis deals with expert evidence in both Australia and Sweden. The differences between the two are significant in many fields, including the field of expert evidence jurisprudence. In Australia the hearing of expert witnesses have traditionally been dominated by the parties at trial while in Sweden, judges have historically had the leading role. Though significant differences remain to a certain extent, this thesis will show how many of the same problems regarding expert evidence exists in the two countries and how concurrent evidence could cure, not only Australia's ills but also Sweden's. In Sweden, expert evidence is governed mainly by Rättegångsbalken's 40th chapter, legislation written in the 1940's and not significantly amended since. The law paints a wholly outdated picture of expert evidence jurisprudence in Sweden and my voice join that of many others in calling for immediate expert evidence reform in Sweden. Within the context of wholesale Swedish expert evidence reform concurrent evidence could easily be created within the new law and would give Swedish courts a valuable tool to use in expert evidence court procedure. (Less)
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author
Eriksson, Hans
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Processrätt
language
English
id
1557283
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:20
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:20
@misc{1557283,
  abstract     = {Concurrent expert evidence is a modern method of hearing expert witnesses in court that was created in Australia over the last decade. Concurrent evidence is about a new way of hearing expert witnesses that promises profound and well-needed change to expert evidence jurisprudence in Australia and conceivably the world. Expert witnesses are court actors with specialized expert knowledge. The idea behind having expert evidence presented at trial is that experts will be able to communicate this expert knowledge to the members of the court and thus enable the judges to better understand complex issues in a particular case. Over the years significant problems inherent to expert evidence jurisprudence including soaring costs and time constraints as well as overt expert bias has festered in legal systems all over the world. Concurrent evidence seeks to mitigate these problems. In both Australia and Sweden expert witnesses have traditionally been heard one by one in a sequential manner at trial. The novel invention of the Australian concurrent evidence reform is that the court hears two or more experts simultaneously, saving significant amounts of time and expense for the court. During the hearing, experts are also allowed and encouraged to ask each other questions and are made to emphasize the differences and similarities of their views. The open and collegial setting of this method, as opposed to the often confrontational and partisan atmosphere of traditional expert hearings, has led to the coining of the term ''hot tubbing''. It has also led to positive effects for the expert witnesses themselves who find it easier to present their findings in a less partisan setting and for the members of the court who are able to understand complex matters much better with the help of the questions the experts ask each other and by minimizing the influence of the parties' lawyers. This thesis deals with expert evidence in both Australia and Sweden. The differences between the two are significant in many fields, including the field of expert evidence jurisprudence. In Australia the hearing of expert witnesses have traditionally been dominated by the parties at trial while in Sweden, judges have historically had the leading role. Though significant differences remain to a certain extent, this thesis will show how many of the same problems regarding expert evidence exists in the two countries and how concurrent evidence could cure, not only Australia's ills but also Sweden's. In Sweden, expert evidence is governed mainly by Rättegångsbalken's 40th chapter, legislation written in the 1940's and not significantly amended since. The law paints a wholly outdated picture of expert evidence jurisprudence in Sweden and my voice join that of many others in calling for immediate expert evidence reform in Sweden. Within the context of wholesale Swedish expert evidence reform concurrent evidence could easily be created within the new law and would give Swedish courts a valuable tool to use in expert evidence court procedure.},
  author       = {Eriksson, Hans},
  keyword      = {Processrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Experts in the Australian hot tub: The Australian concurrent evidence reform and why it should be adopted by the Swedish legal system},
  year         = {2009},
}