Its all about protecting the Children
Experts who give evidence in court in cases involving children have to realise that they cannot adopt the stance that they are a “hired gun” and give evidence purely to suit their client’s case or to serve their own personal interests. If an expert does have a personal interest in the outcome of a matter, s/he is obliged to reveal this to the court and the opposing attorneys at the outset of the case.
When dealing with matters involving children, experts must ensure that the best interests of the child/ren are of paramount importance since their evidence will have far reaching consequences. Experts should always be unbiased and neutral and are duty-bound to disclose all relevant information to the court surrounding their involvement as an expert in any matter concerning children.
In the recent decision of Schneider v AA in the Western Cape High Court, Judge Davis chastised the legal team and the expert witnesses acting for one of the parties in a matter concerning the best intersts of what Judge Davis termed “ two vulnerable young children”, for their failure to disclose that expert witnesses had been brought in as a hired gun (and also funded the litigation).[Back]