The Making of Expert Witness: The Valuer’s Perspective

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Babawale, G. K.
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This paper examines the role of the expert witness in the process of justice administration. As the saying goes, not all 'experts' make good 'expert witness' as there is more to being an 'expert witness' than there is to being an 'expert'. That is, being an 'expert witness' does not necessarily connote that the witness is an expert in giving evidence but rather in the matter his evidence is about. In other words, to become an 'expert witness' in reality, a Valuer requires additional attributes outside what is traditionally available to him in his academic training and professional tutelage. Among others, he would need to acquaint himself with court procedure and the court standards for expert witness; he requires instruction on how to put together his proof of evidence and deposition, how to marshal his points and conduct himself including his limitations while in the witness box. Presently, neither the academic nor the professional examination syllabuses for the training of Valuers in Nigeria make adequate provisions for these additional instructions. This study is a modest contribution aimed at bridging this gap. The paper further examines the paradigm shift that is currently unfolding globally in expert witnessing and testimony; while it offers suggestions on how Nigerian Valuers can improve on their performance in this increasingly popular area of their vocation. The author has drawn largely on his vast experience as expert witness spanning over two decades and has brought him before different judges on matters ranging from rent disputes to compensation for oil spillage at both the Federal and State High Courts in several states. Beside adequate personal preparation by Valuers, the paper recommends systemic changes including appropriate sanctions, legislations, mandatory professional standards and specialization to enhance Valuers' performance, forestall willful abuses and eliminate observed lapses.
Admissibility , Expert testimony , Expert witness , Probative value , Valuer
35. BabawThe Making of Expert Witness: The Valuer’s Perspective. ATBU Journal of Environmental Technology; Vol. 9, No. 2, Dec. 2016.