Tree Life Short Courses

Expert Witness insight day for Arboriculturists

Expert advice and evidence can be crucial to the outcome of a court case. Many consultants operating as experts have no experience or formal training in this area of work and thus are unprepared for what lies ahead in terms of report writing, the Civil and Criminal Procedure Rules (CPR), court procedure and cross examination by a barrister in an adversarial system.

This day is designed to provide a highly qualified specialist in the field of arboriculture with an insight into:

·       the English legal system

·       court structure

·       the role of the expert witness

·       writing an excellent expert report

·       an understanding of the CPR part 35 as applicable to an expert

·       an expert witness meeting

·       what a judge wants

·       cross examination (practical session)

·       working as a single joint expert

·       the main pitfalls of working as an expert

·       an explanation of terminologies used in expert witness work


Also, to act as preparation for undertaking a recognised qualification in this area of work.

Being a good expert witness is an additional skill required to that of simply being a good arboriculturist, expertise is essential but learning how to use it in the legal arena is extremely important and very different to the everyday work of a consultant. Poor representation can lead to the expert being discredited within their specialist field in quite a public arena and can also lead to a negative effect on the case being heard.


Tree Life pride themselves on providing training of the highest quality based on their educational and arboricultural expertise and experiences combined with that of practicing in the field. The course is to be taught by a qualified teacher, a Cardiff University/Bond Solon (CUEW) qualified expert witness who is also an ICF Chartered Arboriculturist and a Registered Consultant of the Arboricultural Association. The role of the expert is not to ‘win the case’, but to act as an educator for the parties concerned, this aspect is not understood by many acting as experts.


Tree Life regularly provides a range of expert reports for claimants, defendants and enforcement agencies, for example, the Health and Safety Executive covering a range of subjects from subsidence damage, direct damage, injury and death caused by fallen trees/branches and industrial accidents involving chainsaws.


Lord Woolf former Lord Chief Justice and Master of the Rolls has urged that all experts receive training with it being critical to do so. Good solicitors will always look for experts who can demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of Practice Direction 35, Pre-Action Protocols and of the CPRs Part 35 and are able to produce court compliant reports and give evidence in court.


The courses will be held at the Tree Life training centre in Syston, Leicestershire and the price will include teas, coffee, biscuits and a buffet lunch when attending the training centre.


The course will require candidates to submit a report document in answer to a given scenario and a cv 2 weeks in advance of attendance to allow the course tutor to prepare barrister type questions ready for cross examination.


Course outcome


Candidates can appreciate the additional knowledge and skills required to work as an expert witness and decide if the work is for them and if a qualification such as offered by Bond Solon/Cardiff University law school is the next course of action.


Course requirements


Essential – writing materials however, notes of the course material will be provided.


Desirable – a level 6 (or working towards) arboricultural qualification and/or considerable experience in a specialised area of arboriculture e.g. chainsaw operations, tree inspection, subsidence.


NB Candidates need to be prepared to be cross examined in the day based on their work submitted.