In our previous bulletin, we mentioned the importance of the independence of the scientific expert in his mandates and, ultimately, during his presence in court. The pertinence of this independence or impartiality is particularly reflected during the expert’s cross-examination by the prosecutor and/or by the judge himself simply because the expert must respond based on his/her own opinion and not with what his attorney wishes to hear.
This is particularly true when the tribunal consists of nine judges who can question the expert at any moment, or indeed, any of the six prosecutors, who are trying to find a “hole” in the testimony, during their cross-examination. It is exactly how the Iran-US claims tribunal in The Hague (Netherlands) is proceeding.
Recently, a MSEI representative had the opportunity and the privilege of being an expert witness before that court for a dispute dating back to 1979, between the Iranians and the Americans. This international tribunal was actually initiated in 1981 following the Algiers’s Accord, in order to resolve over 4,200 disputes originating directly or indirectly from the American-hostage crisis of 1979.
Most of the dispute, for which MSEI was called as an expert witness before the court, was linked to damages caused by weathering of over eight hundred (800) mobile home units (construction site trailers). Specifically, the damage was caused by microorganisms (mould and rot) on construction material and household goods that were packed inside these units.
When called before different courts of justice in North America, many of us have encountered, in one way or another, an expert witness who stretches themselves a little too far or attempts to rewrite science in their own way to the point of giving answers or arguments that others might find perplexing. Even during the Iran-US claims tribunal stated above, we met a few facts and experts witness which could be classified in that category.
Such a situation produces futile arguments between the experts, undermines our credibility and tarnishes this wonderful industry of expertise in which we operate.
MSEI’s experts have accumulated decades of experience as expert witnesses in different courts of justice. They have this credibility and their integrity is without fault. Our clients always know the whole truth regarding the scientific aspect of their case.