Think over the question: Whose work seems more attractive for you? Give your grounds.

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Think over the question: Whose work seems more attractive for you? Give your grounds.

5. Look at the pre-text words: “All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points,

by passion or inter­est, under temptation to it.”


a) Can you guess with what meaning adjective liable is used in the phrase?

  1. Legally obligated; responsible. Used with for.
  2. At risk of or subject to experiencing or suffering something unpleasant. Used with to.
  3. Likely. Often used with reference to an unfavorable outcome.

b) Do you agree with the author? Can these reasons justify mistakes made by lawyers and scientists, in your opinion?



Read the text and find answers to the following questions:

1. Who can be an expert witness?

2. What are the requirements for an expert witness?

3. How can an expert witness reach his/her goals?

4. What is the right of an expert witness?

5. What should an expert witness remember when testifying?



Regardless of one's role in an investigation, no one can accurately claim to be an expert wit­ness by profession. Expert witnesses, by law, can only be declared such by a judge. There are experts who are not scientists; for exam­ple, experts in office design, river rafting, school bus driving, fashion design, art history, or scuba diving. Of course, there are also ex­perts in the natural sciences and medicine, as well as those with forensic practices. But only the court creates expert witnesses. Forensic scientists first and foremost must remain scientists. Those practicing forensic medicine remain, first and foremost, medical profes­sionals. Forensic scientists and forensic pathologists may or may not be declared ex­pert witnesses by the court.

Expert witnesses are perceived very differently from lay witnesses, both by the law and by the public. It gives you some rights and advantages but imparts added responsibilities. Juries will forgive fear, nervousness, and some confusion in a lay witness, but experts don’t impress much if they show those conditions.

There are three requirements for an expert witness:

a) The witness must qualify as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education greater than the average layperson in the area of his or her testimony.

b) The expert must testify to scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge. The reliability of the testimony is based on valid reasoning and a reliable methodology, as opposed to subjective observations or speculative conclusions.

c) The expert’s testimony must assist the trier of fact, i.e., be relevant to the task of the judge or the jury to understand the evidence or determine disputed facts.

The goal of the expert witness is to communicate to the judge and jury. The single most important way to do this is to use plain language, thereby avoiding what appears to be the hypertechnical language of science.

The expert has a right to state an opinion and give the supporting data and reasons for it, testify in narrative form rather than question and answer (though some judges won’t allow narrative), demand to see and examine any published texts being used to cross-examine you, and refuse to state your opinion until you have been compensated.

Testifying is a chance to teach some receptive folks about our very interesting work. Remember this: 1. you know more about the subject than the lawyer does, 2. juries like scientists more than they like lawyers.


1. Fill in the chart with appropriate information from the text:



Retell the text using information from the chart.


Translate the text in writing:


An expert is someone knowing more and more

about less and less, eventually knowing everything about nothing.

Attributed to Sir Bernard Spillsbury, MD

Neither natural scientists nor forensic scien­tists start from theories or laws when facing the need to explain some puzzling phenome­non. They start from data. And not from com­monplace data, but from the surprising anomalies raising the puzzles requiring ex­planation. Unusual observations suggest ex­planatory connections to pursue and test. Such connections define evidence, and distinguish data that are evidence from data that remains merely coincidental. In that effort, the natural scientist and the forensic scientist share a fundamental approach belying any simplistic distinction between real science and forensic science.

Usually scientific or other experts offered by attorneys to the court as potential expert witnesses give opinions only within their areas of expertise. Sometimes, lawyers hire an expert simply because the other side hired one first. But, usually, lawyers engage experts when the facts of a case remain unclear, when analytical procedures in some field might help clarify those facts, or when specialized training can help educate the jury in turn to help the jurors make better informed deci­sions. The goal remains to apply some reliable method to those facts to help the court render its decisions. For forensic scientists, it's all about reliable scientific methods.



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