Immunity From Suit For Experts?

Author:Ms Sharon Daly, Brian Buggy, Michael Byrne, Gearóid Carey, Brendan Colgan, Niamh Counihan, Deirdre Cummins, Nicola Dunleavy, Bryan Dunne, Michael Finn, Tom Hayes, Carina Lawlor, April McClements, Bríd Munnelly, Julie Murphy-O'Connor, Tony O'Grady, Alistair Payne and Rebecca Ryan

The Law Reform Commission (the "LRC") recently sought submissions on their Consultation Paper on Expert Evidence.  A number of topics relating to expert witnesses were considered by the LRC, an important one being whether immunity from suit, which is currently afforded to expert witnesses in this jurisdiction, should be retained.  In Ireland, expert witnesses enjoy immunity from suit in relation to opinions given by them in the context of litigation. The rationale underpinning this rule is to ensure that experts give full and complete evidence, without a fear of liability.  This was considered by the LRC as being particularly relevant in this jurisdiction, given the relatively small pool of local experts in any one field.  The LRC suggested that anything which may discourage an individual from acting as an expert was to be avoided. There has been no recent case law concerning experts' immunity in this jurisdiction.  However, in the case of Jones v Kaney, the Supreme Court of England and Wales, in abolishing immunity from civil liability for expert witness, considered there was no justification for the...

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