TORONTO, Feb. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - In a unanimous decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal released on January 29, 2015, a Superior Court of Justice ruling restricting communications between expert witnesses and legal counsel has been rejected. At a time when access to justice is of prime concern to all Canadians and Canada's legal community, this much anticipated decision concludes that "banning undocumented discussions between counsel and expert witnesses or mandating disclosure of all written communications is unsupported by and contrary to existing authority."
Interveners in the appeal process included the Holland Group, the Criminal Lawyers Association, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Canadian Defence Lawyers' Association, The Advocates' Society, and The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators (CICBV) as the sole representative of the voice of expert witnesses.
"We see this as a win for Canada's business community and for all Canadians who require access to the justice system," says CICBV spokesperson Bob Boulton, CICBV Director of Education and Standards.
Courtney Raphael, Litigation Partner at Aird & Berlis LLP, who represented the CICBV in the appeal, says that, "the Court of Appeal acknowledged the important role of experts like CBVs in the justice system." Ms. Raphael adds that, in its decision, "the Ontario Court of Appeal recognized the existence of a variety of mechanisms, including an expert's own professional governing standards, specifically those of the CICBV, to address potential expert bias. The Court of Appeal ultimately concluded that consultation and collaboration between counsel and experts were essential for a number of practical and policy reasons, but more importantly, in order to meet the interests of justice."
The complete Appeal Court decision is available for review here.
Ms. Raphael and Mr. Boulton of the CICBV are also available for interviews to discuss this landmark ruling in the context of its impact on providing access to impartial expertise in Canada's courts. This is of primary interest to Canadian businesses that depend on expert witnesses for their reports and opinions during civil and commercial litigation.
The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators is the leading professional business valuation organization in Canada, and is the sole grantor of the Chartered Business Valuator designation, providing education and accreditation and setting professional standards for its members. Chartered Business Valuators (in Canada) are the only professionals specifically trained to value privately held businesses and intangible assets and render opinions on the quantification of financial loss.
The CICBV was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Toronto with Board representation from across Canada.
SOURCE The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators
For further information: For more information or to reach spokesperson Bob Boulton, please contact: Megan Kennedy, Communications Manager, CICBV, 416-977-1117 ext. 228, [email protected]; Or to reach spokesperson Courtney Raphael, please contact: Lauren Neglia, Communications Generalist, Aird & Berlis LLP, 416-865-7789 ext. 4524