What is "Hot Tubbing"?
A look at the New High Court Rules effective 1 October 2016 from an Expert Witness’ perspective.
The Rules of the Superior Courts in respect of Conduct of Trials and Pre-Trial procedures (Rules of the Superior Courts (Conduct of Trials)) S.I. No. 254 of 2016 and Rules of the Superior Courts (Chancery and Non-Jury Actions and other Designated Proceedings: Pre-Trial Procedures) S.I. No. 255 of 2016, effective from 1 October 2016 (“the New Rules”) bring about significant changes for Expert Witnesses.
The New Rules apply to the Chancery and Non-Jury Lists of the High Court, but do not include Personal Injury cases.
Prior to the introduction of the New Rules, Experts may have been appointed by parties at various different points in the timeline of the proceedings, including prior to the Statement of Claim being served, prior to or after Discovery had been exchanged between the parties, or once a case had been set down for hearing with a confirmed trial date.
Amongst the New Rules are provisions that require the notification of a party’s intention to put forward expert evidence at the pleadings stage of the litigation. The New Rules also set out a requirement for an Expert to declare their duty to the Court as well as allowing for the appointment of a Single Joint Expert. A number of the main provisions of the New Rules which relate to expert evidence are outlined below, including the introduction of the “Debate Among Experts”, now also being referred to as “Hot Tubbing”.
In summary, the New Court Rules, effective from 1 October 2016 insofar as they relate to expert evidence, will significantly alter the landscape for the appointment of Experts in the Chancery and
Non-Jury Lists of the High Court (excluding personal injury cases) and will bring about the appointment of Experts much earlier in proceedings.