Under the Evidence Act, each party to a trial can call no more than three expert witnesses, unless it gets leave of the trial judge.
In the decision of Repic v. Hamilton, released this month, Madam Justice Walters explained why she allowed plaintiffs to call more than three expert witnesses on the issue of liability.
The lawsuit arose out of a motor vehicle collision. The plaintiffs asked Justice Walters for leave to call 4 expert witnesses with the following areas of expertise:
- Accident reconstruction;
- Road traffic design defects and difficulties for vulnerable road users;
- Road traffic design alternatives; and
- Human factors.
Justice Walters allowed the four experts to testify because she was satisfied that each would testify about a distinctive topic. Justice Walters also cited the following additional reasons for her decision to allow all four experts:
- The issues in the lawsuit were complex and not something with which the court was familiar;
- The four proposed witnesses would not seriously lengthen the trial;
- The time and expense associated with their evidence was not disproportionate to the issues and seriousness of the case;
- The number of experts, their intended use, and the time estimates was not an instance of over-preparation or “overkill” on the part of the plaintiffs.