A Report is a document that records (i) the instructions in respect of the assignment, (ii) the basis and purpose of the report, and (iii) the analysis and reasoning that have led to (iv) the opinion and conclusion arrived at by the expert.
The type, content and length of a report will vary according to the intended user, legal requirements and the nature and complexity of the assignment.
Expert reports should have a logical structure and a clearly organised layout with objective and verifiable justification for all opinions and conclusions expressed. The report should demonstrate clarity, impartiality, and consistency of approaches.
Prior to accepting an appointment as an expert, an expert must satisfy himself that he does not have any conflict of interests and carefully identify the issues to be addressed and be satisfied that he has the experience, knowledge and expertise to complete the assignment competently and with required expedition.
Expert evidence shall be restricted to that which is reasonably required to assist e.g. the court or tribunal in resolving the proceedings. Expert evidence shall be given in a written report unless the expert is instructed otherwise or unless the court directs otherwise. The expert shall perform his role at all times competently and diligently and this shall include (but shall not be limited to) compliance with any relevant procedural rules and any applicable code of practice or guidance pertaining to matters such as ethics, professional principles, competence, disclosure and reporting.
It is recognised that the different states within Europe have different laws, procedures and practices, any of which may impose additional or different requirements which must be complied with by experts providing services within or for use within any such jurisdiction.
An expert's report shall, unless otherwise agreed, instructed or legally required:
- specify the expert's name, his firm's name, his qualifications, expertise and comprehensive contact details.
- identify the purpose and intended use of the report.
- identify the client or clients.
- contain a statement setting out the substance of the instructions given to the expert which are material to the opinions expressed in the report or upon which those opinions are based.
- give comprehensive details of any inspection, site visit, or tests undertaken by the expert, which shall include (but not limited to) the date and time and duration and the names of those present.
- give comprehensive information as to any staff and/or assistants and/or subcontractors involved in the production of the report and set out their contribution to the same.
- give details of any literature or other material which the expert has relied on in making the report. Sketches and photos should be used in particular where they provide useful illustrations or aid the understanding of the report.
- make clear which of the facts stated in the report are within the expert's own knowledge; descriptions based on the expert's own findings or tests must be clearly distinguished from those based on his instructions or derived from statements made by third parties.
- where tests of a scientific or technical nature have been carried out, experts should state the methodology used and by whom the tests were undertaken and under whose supervision, summarising their respective qualifications and experience.
- where there is a range of opinion on the matters dealt with in the report - the expert shall summarise the range of opinion, and give reasons for his own opinion. The basis for making qualified statements (e.g. as to certainty, possibility, range of probability or impossibility) and the inclusion of any restrictions, limitations or caveats in respect of expressed opinions in the expert's report should be clearly explained and justified.
- state those facts (whether assumed or otherwise) upon which the expert opinions are based. Experts must distinguish clearly between those facts which they know to be true and those facts which they assume or have received.
- contain a summary of the conclusions reached. The summary should give the reader of the report an overview of all significant opinions contained within the report. The conclusions in the expert opinion must be presented clearly and intelligibly so that they may be readily understood by a non-expert.
- be signed. When reports are transmitted electronically, an expert shall take reasonable steps to protect the integrity of the data/text in the report.