The Supreme Court of Queensland required the disclosure of expert advice relied upon by the plaintiffs in preparing their statement of claim. The disclosure was required even though the plaintiffs had not served a report from that expert.
The Court held disclosure of an expert’s advice may be required “whether [the report is] relied upon or not, whether deployed or not”.
The case highlights:
Note: readers should consider specific rules or practice directions that apply to draft experts’ reports in other jurisdictions.
The plaintiffs in this case alleged negligence in the design of a bund wall, leading to water contamination and economic loss.
The statement of claim outlined various detailed technical issues. It was apparent to the defendant the plaintiffs had drafted the claim with the aid of an expert.
The defendant sought disclosure of the underlying advice, relying on Uniform Civil Procedures Rule (UCPR) 212(2). The rule states “[a] document consisting of a statement or report of an expert is not privileged from disclosure”.
The plaintiffs argued the expert advice should not be disclosed because:
In assessing whether a draft report is subject to disclosure, Crow J held:
His Honour agreed with the judgment of Douglas J in Mitchell Contractors Pty Ltd v Townsville-Thuringowa Water Supply Joint Board and ruled that “any expert report including drafts directly relevant to the issues in dispute on the pleadings” ought to be disclosed to the defendants.
How we can help
Our dispute advisory experts have extensive knowledge of litigation and alternative dispute resolution processes. We pride ourselves on providing reports and advice which convey complex technical issues in a manner suitable for Courts and understandable to those outside of our profession.
Share this article →
We deliver information relevant to you and your industry