2010 LRNC theme

Experts in the judicial process

Judges are experts in dispute resolution. Legal knowledge does not always suffice, however, to arrive at a balanced judgment. Many disputes require not only a judgment on the relevant legal material but also on the relevant facts. In some cases these facts can easily be identified, but in other cases expert factual knowledge is required. In these cases, judges should rely on the opinion of specialists or experts.
The involvement of experts in the judicial process raises many questions. When is specialist knowledge called for? Which criteria for expertise, reliability and independence should be met? Are experts to be appointed by the parties or by the court? How should judges react to requests for invoking additional expertise? To what extent does the court enjoy judicial discretion in these matters? If experts are appointed by the court, to what extent should parties be involved in the selection of questions that are put to the experts? Who should cover the expenses of additional expertise? How should judges assess expert opinion? How should they deal with conflicting opinions of different experts: should judges be able to arrive at a balanced judgment all by themselves or do they again need an expert? Does the assessment of expertise allow for a full or for a marginal test? Do all these questions (and answers) apply to all legal areas to the same extent, or are there marked differences between legal areas?

Depending on the number and quality of the papers, the organizing committee offers researchers the possibility of making papers available online on the conference website, and will contemplate publishing a conference volume targeted at the theme of the conference.

As this conference is intended for the staff members of the faculties involved and aimed at stimulating international oriented legal research, the organizers accept all working papers from staff of the associated faculties. The working papers will be made available to participating staff members on the Conference website.

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