Our professional lecture team has adjusted the course: The Provision of Expert Opinion and Evidence for Health Professionals from a three day course at UCT to a two day on-line course in order to accommodate Covid-19 travel and in-person training restrictions.
As of 2020 this course has become SAMLA approved and enjoys both HPCSA and SAMLA CPD points and recognition of prior learning.
There have been some interesting related judgments out this year, illustrating just how vulnerable experts can be to uncomfortable cross-examination and or evidence not being taken quite as intended – irrespective of one’s years of experience and specialist knowledge.
Needless to say, it is prudent to be aware of how best to manage the possible interpretation / use / application of evidence prior to finding oneself in the situation of having to do so under cross-examination!
Two extracts from the SCA judgment in the matter of AM vs MEC for Health Western Cape are as follows:
“ Something needs to be said about the role of expert witnesses and the expert evidence in this case. The functions of an expert witness are threefold. First, where they have themselves observed relevant facts that evidence will be evidence of fact and admissible as such.
Second, they provide the court with abstract or general knowledge concerning their discipline that is necessary to enable the court to understand the issues arising in the litigation. This includes evidence of the current state of knowledge and generally accepted practice in the field in question. Although such evidence can only be given by an expert qualified in the relevant field, it remains, at the end of the day, essentially evidence of fact on which the court will have to make factual findings. It is necessary to enable the court to assess the validity of opinions that they express.
Third, they give evidence concerning their own inferences and opinions on the issues in the case and the grounds for drawing those inferences and expressing those conclusions.”
“ The opinions of expert witnesses involve the drawing of inferences from facts. The inferences must be reasonably capable of being drawn from those facts. If they are tenuous, or far-fetched, they cannot form the foundation for the court to make any finding of fact. Furthermore, in any process of reasoning the drawing of inferences from the facts must be based on admitted or proven facts and not matters of speculation. As Lord Wright said in his speech in Caswell v Powell Duffryn Associated Collieries Ltd:
‘Inference must be carefully distinguished from conjecture or speculation. There can be no inference unless there are objective facts from which to infer the other facts which it is sought to establish … But if there are no positive proved facts from which the inference can be made, the method of inference fails and what is left is mere speculation or conjecture.’”
As in previous years, the course will be limited in the number of participants it can accommodate in order to ensure as much personal professional interaction as possible.
Discounts on the fees are negotiable for those who send three or more professionals from one organisation.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions pertaining to the content and delivery of the course and to contact UCT CEU (Ms Samantha Samie) for any administrative related queries.