Expert witnesses balk at depressed fee rates

Just two per cent of expert witnesses are paid more than £300 an hour causing concern of a shortfall in the industry as professionals are increasingly unlikely to risk their reputations for low fees.

Research by Sweet & Maxwell revealed that 85 per cent of expert witnesses are paid less than £200 an hour, while 32 per cent charge less than £99 an hour.

Author of the research Tracey McCarthy warned that top professionals could be deterred from providing expert opinion as the level of remuneration did not reflect the high risk of criticism inherent in the industry.

The highest paid expert witnesses are from the accountancy and finance sector, with 10 per cent from this area being paid over £300 an hour.