In 2011 the Supreme Court made an historic decision to divest expert witnesses of the absolute immunity they have enjoyed for over 400 years. According to this ruling, expert witnesses can now be sued in civil proceedings for wrong-doings relating to the evidence they produce. This article describes the basis of this ruling and what it means to expert witnesses, particularly forensic scientists, in terms of giving evidence in court. It outlines, with case examples, how expert witness immunity has changed over time to match increasing demands for the services these witnesses provide. The article also provides case examples of miscarriages of justice and considers what may have been the result for forensic scientists in these cases if this ruling had been in place for them.
Keywords: Expert Witnesses, Expert Immunity, Forensic Scientists, Negligence.
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