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.

Type of expert instructed

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.

Defence post-mortem

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:

  • Pathologists instructed by the Crown should be available to consult with the pathologist instructed by the defence to ensure that the latter is satisfied that all appropriate examination has been undertaken by the Crown.
  • The Crown pathology report should be made available to the pathologist instructed by the defence to inform this consultation.
  • The Crown examination photographs should be made available to the pathologist instructed by the defence to similarly inform the consultation.
  • The pathologist instructed by the defence should consider whether or not a further physical post mortem is required.

Information required for sanction application

Thus, when applying for sanction to employ a defence pathologist please provide details of:

  • How the expert report is to be produced.
  • Any proposed consultation between the Crown and defence pathologists.
  • Whether a face to face consultation is required.
  • What material requires to be considered at any consultation.

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.

Drug expert

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.

Psychologist report

We require detailed information as to the need for any report from a psychologist with reference to:

  • The relevance of the report to the charges faced by the assisted person.
  • How such a report will assist the defence.

Please provide details of:

  • Any previous diagnoses made and any hospital admissions.
  • Any treatment the assisted person is currently receiving.

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.

Psychiatric report

When making an application for a psychiatrist to examine the assisted person please provide:

  • Detailed information regarding any previous diagnoses made and previous hospital admissions.
  • Details of any treatment the assisted person is receiving currently from any mental health professional.
  • Notes on how a report will assist the case.

In general, we will not sanction a psychiatric examination for the purpose of making a diagnosis of mental illness.

Forensic Accountant

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.

In this section

Approval for an expert witness

Application for the employment of an expert witness

Find out when and how you can get prior approval for the employment of an expert witness.

Approval for an expert witness

Employment of a professional (including witnesses as to fact)

Find out when you need our approval for a professional.