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Expert Evidence in Civil Law Systems

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Abstract

Expert evidence has an indisputable role in all types of legal proceedings. Its regulation in the field of civil law is governed by some common parameters. However, there are also important differences that make it difficult to articulate a common European framework that allows the integration of the different legal experiences and overcomes the difficulties that block the European mobility of experts and recognise expert opinions with origin in other countries. This chapter aims to show the common elements that characterise expert evidence in civil law and, at the same time, to highlight the regulatory differences that need to be overcome in order to achieve a true harmonisation that will contribute to European procedural unification, especially concerning who has the initiative to propose taking expert evidence, how experts are selected, how evidence is submitted and, finally, the probative value of expert opinions and their influence on judicial decisions.

Keywords

  • Appointment of the expert witness
  • Civil law
  • Civil law systems
  • Expert evidence assessment
  • Expert evidence
  • ex officio evidence
  • Expert evidence practice
  • Expert evidence proposal
  • Expert witness
  • Witness

This piece of research shows part of the results of the research project DER2017-87516-P (funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness).

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-84330-4_4
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Notes

  1. 1.

    Original version: ‘Cuando el testigo posea conocimientos científicos, técnicos, artísticos o prácticos sobre la materia a que se refieran los hechos del interrogatorio, el tribunal admitirá las manifestaciones que en virtud de dichos conocimientos agregue el testigo a sus respuestas sobre los hechos.ʼ

  2. 2.

    The Spanish system of technical assistance is somewhat peculiar concerning that in other European countries that are analysed here since defence and procedural representation are split up and attributed to different subjects: the lawyer (defence) and the court attorney (representation).

  3. 3.

    The guidelines are available at: http://enfsi.eu/documents/forensic-guidelines/.

  4. 4.

    Original version: ‘(…) la educación resulta necesaria. Sin ella existirá siempre el riesgo de aceptar como conocimiento sólido lo que en rigor tiene escaso fundamento, o de terminar haciéndoles decir a los datos arrojados por las pruebas lo que no dicen ni pueden decir, con lo que la justicia de la decisión puede quedar comprometida. Sin educación la base cognoscitiva de la decisión judicial se debilita y el riesgo de error se hace más fuerte.ʼ

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Correspondence to Mercedes Fernández-López .

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Fernández-López, M. (2022). Expert Evidence in Civil Law Systems. In: Guillén-Nieto, V., Stein, D. (eds) Language as Evidence. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84330-4_4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-84330-4_4

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-84329-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-84330-4

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