Witness immunity and expert reports

Although not a medical claim, Young v Hones [2013] NSWSC 1429 is interesting for its consideration of the immunity of expert witnesses to civil suit.

The Court noted recent developments in the United Kingdom in Jones v Kaney [2011]UKSC 13, where a majority of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom held that a retained expert witness was not entitled to the benefit of an immunity from actions brought by his or her own clients for professional negligence. However at [184]:

this was a policy decision which reflected the earlier decision of the House of Lords to abolish advocate’s immunity in the United Kingdom. It is not relevant in the circumstances of this case, because I am bound by the decision of the High Court in Cabassi and the considered obiter in D’Orta.

As the claim was one based on what was said to be bad advice given in the course of proceedings by an expert witness which ultimately resulted in the settlement which occurred, witness immunity was available: [189] – [190].