Netherlands, The experts’ errors: Who is hiding behind the expertise ?
by Raimond Giard*
From the beginning to the end, man, and not technology, determines the integrity of the evidence.
In order to adjudicate civil, administrative or penal litigations, it is often necessary to obtain the opinion of one or more specialists. How can one ensure that the expert, whether hired by a party or not, fully participates in the resolution of a legal case ? This requires a clear definition of the issue(s) and the use of a suitable research method, tasks which the most qualified expert(s) will have to carry out. But to what legal, professional and ethical norms does an expert have to answer ? There are legal limits, these are the expert certified organisations and professional organisations from which experts come and which are responsible for their actions. However, the person of the expert is always the weakest link : his or her pride can stand in the way of truth. Experts have to be able to work in a context in which their commitment is required and in which they will be expected to justify themselves more.
* Pr Dr. Dr. R.W.M. Giard is a methodology and liability professor at the Erasmus School of Law, civil law department, Erasmus Universiteit of Rotterdam. He is also the editor of this journal. Many thanks to Gert Harverkate, Ton Broederset and Han Israels for their critical comments on previous versions of this article.
The original Dutch version of this article was published in the journal Expertise en Recht, Eer 2014, vol 3.
This version includes a few alterations from the previously published one.
**Doctoral dissertation 8 by A.P.A Broeders, Op zoek naar de bron. Over de grondslagen van de criminalistiek en de waardering van het forensisch bewijs (diss. Leiden), Deventer : Kluwer 2003.