Pay experts for work done

As a result of a letter from Richard Freeman (The Lawyer 29 November 1994), it has been suggested that I am condoning "conditional fee testimony" where it affects quantum rather than liability.

In fact, I do not believe there is any place whatsoever for expert witness remuneration to be tied to anything other than the work he has undertaken.

In this context the expert operates in a unique role within the legal framework; he is permitted to give the court his opinion. It is therefore misleading to compare the expert's role with that of the lawyer's. It is not for me to say whether lawyers should have conditional or contingent fees, but I firmly believe they cannot apply to experts.

Richard Freeman says the ethical position of accountants is similar to that of lawyers. On this I cannot comment but it is certainly not the same when they are acting qua expert.

Michael Cohen

Chair, Academy of Experts

116-118 Chancery Lane

London WC2A 1PP