Daily Journal

A Forensic Neutral and How to Use Them Effectively

March 17, 2023

By Daniel Garrie and Hon. Charles Margines

A Forensic Neutral and How to Use Them Effectively

Attorneys and other legal professionals use forensic neutrals to provide expert testimony in court proceedings in order to assist and guide the court and jury in the resolution of complex disputes. They are professional experts who are retained by mutual agreement between the parties or appointed by a court, arbitrator, or other decisionmaking body and are mandated to carry out some action on the decision maker’s behalf. Using a forensic neutral will often be critical to both sides in a legal dispute. This article seeks to identify who is a forensic neutral and how attorneys and interested parties can employ their services efficiently, effectively, and competently to maximize their resources.

Firstly, before retaining the services of a forensic neutral, parties must identify the special field or expertise at issue in the litigation. Forensic neutrals are generally trained in various areas such as science, engineering, accounting, technology, or other fields beyon the ken of the triers of fact. They are also normally licensed or certified by a professional organization. They are not to be confused with the term “expert witness.” This is because a forensic neutral is different from an expert witness. Forensic neutrals are usually not hired by one party in a legal dispute but rather work independently to provide impartial and unbiased information. They act in the interests of both parties throughout the entire scope of their engagement. Hence the name “forensic neutral,” the emphasis being on the word “neutral” because they are not aligned with either party in a legal dispute.

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