In choosing an expert, you should consider whether they are appropriate for the particular case.
Before authorising the use of a “distant” expert, you must satisfy us that no comparable witness is available in the vicinity of the court.
You should always ensure, at the outset, that your chosen expert is able and willing, if necessary, to attend court in due course to speak to the report.
In determining whether it is reasonable to sanction an expert we will have regard to the facts and circumstances in the particular case. The following list gives some guidance.
A new Code of Practice and performance standards for pathologists dealing with suspicious deaths has been published by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and the Royal College of Pathologists.
The Code provides that:
Thus, when applying for sanction to employ a defence pathologist please provide details of:
We will give priority to those applications and can grant sanction over the telephone where required. When a telephone grant of sanction this should be followed up by an online application (please provide the name of our employee who confirmed the grant).
If after the consultation you require a physical post mortem, the request for sanction should be made in the usual way.
Where there are multiple accused in a case and there is a conflict of interest we will consider sanctioning more than one report and / or consultation, please highlight any issues at the outset of the case.
Most applications for the employment of a drugs expert relate to the issue as to whether drugs recovered are consistent with personal use as opposed to supply. Where the argument is that there is a lack of knowledge and control [section 28 of the 1971 Act] please provide additional information as to why a drugs report is required. The same applies to situations where there is a special defence of incrimination.
We require detailed information as to the need for any report from a psychologist with reference to:
Please provide details of:
Where an application is made for a psychologist to examine a joint investigative interview of a child please provide detailed information about any perceived flaws in the conduct of the interview. We will generally not pay for an expert to travel to a procurator fiscal’s office for the purpose of viewing the interview.
When making an application for a psychiatrist to examine the assisted person please provide:
In general, we will not sanction a psychiatric examination for the purpose of making a diagnosis of mental illness.
Where a report is required in relation to proceeds of crime proceedings we require a copy of the Crown Statement of Information in order to properly assess any sanction request. Any request for additional sanction should be supported with a copy of any report prepared by the instructed expert. We often see requests for the employment of forensic accountants in DWP fraud cases. In such cases, we find it is more appropriate to instruct an expert in the field of benefit entitlement.