Expert witnesses can now be sued for negligence in respect of the evidence they give to the court
The decision follows the case of Jones v Kaney in which Mr Wynne Jones sued Dr Sue Kaney on the grounds of professional negligence.
On being asked to provide expert evidence in relation to Mr Jones’ claim for damages rising out of a road traffic accident, Dr Kaney provided a helpful report, only to then sign a statement that appeared to concede that the claimant was not entirely genuine.
Having tried without success to find a new expert, the claimant’s solicitor settled for a sum that was significantly less than what they might otherwise have won. A claim for negligence was then pursued, and subsequently upheld, against Dr Kaney.
Discussing the possible impacts that this ruling could have on landscape architects, Sue Illman, President elect of the LI, said: “Landscape architects, like all other expert witnesses, have been covered by immunity from suit until the Supreme Court decision earlier this year. While its removal potentially opens the door for disgruntled clients to claim against us, in reality the need for them to prove at law that our work or stated opinion was negligent, means that such cases are likely to be few and far between. Prudent landscape architects will also have checked that their PII covers such eventualities.”