At which point do you engage a forensic expert for your case?
Timeliness is key to achieving the best possible outcome!
Consulting and engaging an expert in the early stages of your case
Consulting with an expert as early as possible can aid in determining your legal strategy. Early and effective communication between the legal counsel and the expert facilitates fact discovery and the evolution of the case theory.
The value of forensic science to your case depends on factors such as the areas of contention and the availability of potential evidence. In some cases, forensic evidence may be the crucial link to make or break your case. Besides providing you with the resources that you require to win your case, it may result in you taking a more effective approach to presenting your case.
A forensic expert can advise you on the scope of the forensic work, the relevant documents to procure, the possible types of scientific evidence which may be useful and the merits of the subsequent scientific findings to the case. Engaging an expert early ensures timely access to relevant information, provides sufficient time for the expert to study the case, perform and complete the analysis, and gives ample time for the counsel to fully understand the expert’s opinion and prepare for the court trial, arbitration or mediation. A delay in obtaining an expert report may result in missed opportunities to present valuable forensic findings and information. Do not let hesitation jeopardise your case.
What if you are late?
In the event that you are approaching the trial or arbitration date and have yet to engage your expert, contact one immediately. A forensic expert can still provide crucial insights to your case. If the opposing counsel surprises you with an expert report, your expert can conduct a scientific review of this report and explain the technical jargon in the scientific findings. He can highlight scientific findings which were not supported by relevant data, or bring to your attention the strengths, limitations, shortcomings and areas of disagreement in the expert report from the opposing party. We share two cases to emphasise timeliness and the effective use of relevant forensic evidence.
|Case Study 1: Forensic analysis was requested for at a very late stage of the case - just before the Appeal process. Although the forensic findings were favourable to the client, the Appeal Judge indicated that the evidence should have been adduced during the court trial, and not at such a late stage. It was only due to special circumstances surrounding the case that the fresh evidence was admitted.
Case Study 2: The client who was sued for violating a contract was adamant that he did not sign such a document. The opposing party forwarded a copy of the contract and indicated that the original document was with the client. The lawyer engaged by the client indicated that there was no evidence to suggest that the document was fraudulent. Subsequently, the client decided to engage a forensic expert on his own, though he did not have high expectations that forensic evidence could be useful to his case. As such, he felt vindicated when the forensic findings strongly indicated that the signatures in the document were products of cut-and-paste manipulations.
If you are unsure whether forensic analysis is useful to your case, do not hesitate to give us a ring at +65 64590494 or drop an email at email@example.com to find out. Allow us to assist you early.
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.
Learn more about “Engaging and Working with a Forensic Expert” in the May 2019 issue of the Singapore Law Gazette.