The role of Experts in court in France is determined by law. Being appointed by the judges his role contributes essential values to Justice. A view from France.
In the French, Romano-Germanic system, l’Expert de Justice [the Expert at the Courts of Justice] is the Expert with the Judge.
Let us try to understand the whole interest and the advantage of being ‘Expert with the Judge’ – the cross relationships between science, technique and Society imply that the citizen and the Judge have to call for some specialists to inform the Judge’s thinking on data relating to a dispute or litigation. Justice will need a magnifying glass to help the Judge see clearly and completely freely. Judicial expertise is a place for opening where the Judge discovers a cultural world which is often totally alien to him. Outside the legal sphere, but to serve law, Judge and Lawyer, through expertise, enrich their mutual experience.
Let us never forget, as philosopher André COMTE-SPONVILLE used to say – ‘the Expert’s opinion is halfway between the certainly wrong and the possibly right’. This legal expertise performed by the Expert with the Judge appears as a safety zone for the values indispensable to the implementation of Justice and first and foremost to ensure equality of arms and loyalty in the production of evidence.
Socially speaking, it would also be a true example of respect for others. Judicial expertise is the repository of the values of the trial. While strictly remaining outside the legal ground, the Expert will have to act as the guardian of the rules of the fair trial which he is part of.
Last, the Expert at the Courts is an example for Society. One cannot fail to acknowledge the exemplary nature of the relationship between the Judge, the Parties, their Counsel and the Expert for the broader global Society.
Patrice GARDEL M.D
Expert at the French Court of Cassation
Président d’honneur de la CEJL
Président fondateur et Président d’honneur de la CIECAALY