Shockwaves from Canadian court's ruling on expert draft reports

BVWire reports that a Canadian trial judge’s ruling on expert draft reports is sending shockwaves through the legal and expert witness communities. Even though this opinion carries no weight in U.S. courts, it merits attention from practitioners in this country.

In a medical malpractice case, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice wrestled with a number of evidentiary issues related to the admissibility of expert evidence under Rule 53.03 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure. The most controversial was whether it was appropriate under the rule for counsel to review draft reports of experts and provide input to shape expert reports. The court ruled that "counsel’s prior practice of reviewing draft reports should stop. Discussions or meetings between counsel and an expert to review and shape a draft expert report are no longer acceptable."

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has criticized the opinion. The case is currently on appeal, and The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators has filed a notice to intervene.  The participation of valuators shows that, even though the case involved a medical expert, the judge’s ruling is seen to affect all areas of expertise.

For more on this case, see the BVWire.