Tony Bingham’s expert witness–hired gun analogy (4 February, page 50) struck a chord – appearing in the witness box under the interrogation of our learned friends seems to me akin to being under fire!

And he is right about the temptation to take the partisan route because it is of course more comfortable to support the circumstances of “he who pays the piper” (aka the client), particularly when there are others who have already climbed aboard the partisan ship – piper payer’s peer pressure, if you like.

On the other hand, more than 25 years ago one of my old gaffers offered two pieces of advice as I approached my first task as an expert witness:

  • “Ensure you are confident that what you are saying is right”;
  • “If you don’t know, say so”.

Simplistic possibly, but I know of a few that paid little heed to such advice and as a result took no end of bullets.

Paul Nice, engineering manager, Building Testing