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Conclaves and concurrent expert evidence: a positive development in Australian legal practice?

Bill Madden and Tina Cockburn
Med J Aust 2016; 204 (2): 82-83. || doi: 10.5694/mja15.00759
Published online: 1 February 2016

Summary

  • Many Australian courts now prefer pre-hearing meetings of experts (conclaves) being convened to prepare joint reports to identify areas of agreement and disagreement, followed by concurrent expert evidence at trial. This contrasts to the traditional approach where experts did not meet before trial and did not give evidence together.
  • Most judges, lawyers and expert witnesses favour this as a positive development in Australian legal practice, at least for civil disputes.
  • This new approach affects medical practitioners who are called on to give expert evidence, or who are parties to disputes before the courts.
  • Arguably, it is too soon to tell whether the relative lack of transparency at the conclave stage will give rise to difficulties in the coronial, disciplinary and criminal arenas.

  • Bill Madden1
  • Tina Cockburn2

  • 1 Slater and Gordon Lawyers, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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