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Giving evidence in court guide

As a professional witness, you may attend a case in court and you may be required to provide a professional witness statement. This is a person who is deemed to have a professional qualification and has some direct professional involvement in the facts of the case. A professional witness does not interpret the facts or offer a personal/professional opinion unless asked to do so by the court.

An expert witness is one who gives relevant testimony from within their field of expertise and only from within their field of expertise. That witness may be a professional person such as a veterinary surgeon, but could be from any trade, or even someone with a unique knowledge of a set of circumstances that a member of the general public will not have. An expert witness gives an opinion to the court, often based on the factual evidence supplied by other witnesses.

Last revision: 2010 
Edition: 1 
Publisher: BVA 
Number of pages: 6 
Format: PDF

This guide contains:

  • Definitions of an expert witness, and a professional witness
  • Requirements when attending a case
  • Information about your professional witness statement
  • Tips about your appearance in court

The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct, support guidance 22, provides advice on giving evidence for court and the difference between witnesses of fact or opinion.

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British Veterinary Forensic and Law Association aims to develop the interest and expertise members in all areas where the law affects the Veterinary Profession and act as a bridge between the legal and veterinary professions.

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Giving evidence in court guide