The Reliable Expert Witness

The Reliable Expert Witness


A guide to professional reports and expert evidence for courts, arbitrations and other tribunals.


Author: Mark Tottenham  | ISBN:  978-1-911611-33-2 | Format: Paperback | Price: €20 | Publishing:  January 2021

“All experts whether new to the industry or with over 40 years experience should consider this book essential. … It is a book that will educate and be used as a reference point for many years.” The Expert Witness Journal

“… a welcome and excellent guide to the duties and responsibilities of an expert witness…. I heartily recommend this well written and common-sense book to all professional experts.” Edward Flahavan President of the Association of Consulting Engineers


Professionals from many disciplines, businesses and industries are regularly called upon to prepare reports or to give evidence in courts, arbitrations and other hearings. Whether described as ‘expert’, ‘skilled’, or ‘specialist’ witnesses, their contribution is often crucial to the outcome of the case.

Experts can be publicly embarrassed if they are ill-prepared, or do not understand their duties to the court. Many high-profile miscarriages of justice have arisen because of the conduct of such witnesses, who have given biased evidence in favour of one party, or simply failed to understand the courts’ requirements.

Mark Tottenham, an experienced barrister and mediator, and award-winning writer on legal issues, has written this short and authoritative guide to the responsibilities of professional witnesses. Drawing on authorities throughout the English-speaking world,  he outlines: the duties of an expert witness; the requirements of a written court report; how to prepare to give evidence in court; how to maintain a professional detachment from the client and instructing legal team; the involvement of expert witnesses in preparing pleadings and ‘Scott schedules’; and the role of expert witnesses in other forums such as mediations, inquests and public inquiries.

Content Includes

  • Types of Expert and Professional Witness
  • The Duties of Expert and Professional Witnesses
  • Enforcement of Experts’ Duties
  • Accepting Instructions
  • Factual Investigations
  • Conducting Professional Research
  • Reaching a Conclusion
  • Preparing and Writing an Expert Report
  • Communication and Consultation Between the Experts and the Instructing Legal Team
  • Meetings With Other Experts
  • Pleadings, Affidavits and ‘Scott Schedules’
  • Oral Evidence at Hearing
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Other Hearings or Inquiries


  • APPENDIX 1 – Checklist for Accepting Instructions
  • APPENDIX 2 – Checklist for an Expert Report
  • APPENDIX 3 – Case Law on Duties of Expert Witnesses

Who Should Buy This Book?

This is an essential handbook for any professional asked to assist in court or arbitration proceedings.

About the Author

Mark Tottenham is a barrister and mediator. He was the lead author of A Guide to Expert Witness Evidence (Bloomsbury Professional 2019), the leading Irish legal textbook on expert evidence, the Dublin Solicitors’ Bar Association’s Practical Law Book of the Year award, 2020.

He was the founding editor of, an online publisher of law reports, and Decisis Law Ireland (DLI), a monthly lawreporting journal. He has written for  The Irish Times, Irish Independent, Laffoy’s Irish Conveyancing PrecedentsConveyancing and Property Law JournalMedico-legal Journal of Ireland, and is the editor of the Irish Tax Reports. He has lectured at the Kings Inns, the Law Society of Ireland, and the school of architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology (now Technical University, Dublin).

He is a graduate of history from Trinity College Dublin. He formerly worked as a genealogist, and for Hodder Headline publishers in London.

3 reviews for The Reliable Expert Witness

  1. Andy

    This is an impressive and wide ranging review of all aspects that impinge on the daily life of the expert witness. I would recommend that consulting forensic engineers and indeed all engineers, some of whom in their careers will have to attend court to give evidence on behalf of their employer, to read carefully and take on board the information in this book. It is easy to read as it is not laden down with legal jargon. Every engineer should have a copy of this book in their toolbox and adhere carefully to the principles set out therein.

    Stephen Mooney, Chartered Engineer

  2. Andy

    Mark Tottenham BL has written a welcome and excellent guide to the duties and
    responsibilities of an expert witness. This book is a manual and primer for beginners
    or those who go to Court only occasionally. It is also a very useful revision text for all
    professions whether, Engineers, Doctors, Accountants, or other experts. The author
    employs legal opinion, succinct explanation, and several examples to illustrate each
    point. The book deals with both criminal and civil litigation using the evidence of
    medical, engineering, architectural, and other professions. The author makes many
    useful suggestions on accepting instructions, investigating, researching, and
    preparing expert reports. There is guidance on dealing with legal teams, other experts,
    and the relevant correspondence. The advice on the presentation of oral evidence will
    be particularly useful to those who do not frequent the Court regularly. Every section
    of this book is accessible for quick and useful pointers on what to do and more
    importantly when to take care. I heartily recommend this well written and common sense book to all professional experts.
    Edward Flahavan BE C Eng, MIEI MIMechE
    President of the Association of Consulting Engineers.

  3. Andy

    Mark Tottenham has written a practical guide to being an expert witness that is second to none. Expert witnesses in the medical world have been described as people with great eminence and extensive experience, and so it is also alluded to in this handbook. As practising member of that profession, I would perhaps argue the use of the term eminent. Most physicians and surgeons who act as expert witnesses do so as we care deeply for our profession and our patients and have spent years training and learning how to gather evidence to make decisions, and skills with which to execute them. In many ways, it is a parallel to the legal profession. The truth is that legal proceedings can be intimidating, and simply possessing expert knowledge is not enough. There is a myriad of essential skills such as writing an expert report, accepting instruction, mediation, oral evidence, dealing with cross-examination that all need to be navigated. I had never heard of a “Scott schedule” which I found very useful, as were the notes of report-writing. Furthermore, the sections on the role of expert witnesses in arbitration and mediation, communication with the legal team and other experts were extremely clear. The checklists in the appendices were outstanding, and something I will definitely be using as I progress.

    There is little to no legal training as a medical doctor at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, and whilst this book is not designed to be a textbook, The Reliable Expert Witness is a concise, brilliantly written, pocket-sized guide that has completely augmented my approach to medicolegal work. It is the type of book that ticks every box in a reference wish-list and is a must-read for anyone who has an interested in the field.

    Fardod O’Kelly MD MA FFSEM FRCS(Urol)
    Consultant Paediatric and Adolescent Urological Surgeon

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