The joint expert meeting stage of litigation is not a process to be taken lightly. This week the Court provided helpful guidance in a clinical negligence case reminding litigators that expert joint meetings were not simply another step in the procedural timetable but are required by the CPR with the aim “to agree and narrow issues” (CPR 35PD 9.2). Mrs Justice Yip also highlighted the importance of having one clear agenda focussing on the key issues.
The case itself is a surgical claim and also provides an example of how a judge deals with issues of Res Ipsa; “believability” of factual and expert witnesses.
This case acts as a reminder for all that agendas for expert joint statements are appropriate and useful and that both parties should try to agree a single agenda. It is also important that agendas remain focussed on the key issues and do not become unwieldy.
DAVID JOHN SAUNDERS v CENTRAL MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST (2018)
 EWHC 343 (QB)
The joint statement is an important document. It ought to be possible to read it and to understand the key issues and each expert's position on those issues. Sometimes less is more as far as the agenda is concerned. Parties should adopt a common sense and collaborative approach rather than allowing this stage of the litigation to become a battleground.