Expert evidence of questionable independence can be more readily
challenged following a recent Supreme Court decision that tightens the
rules of admissibility, counsel say.
Justice Thomas Cromwell’s
7-0 judgment April 30, in White Burgess Langille Inman v. Abbott and
Haliburton Co.  S.C.J. No. 23, elaborates on the Supreme Court’s
four-part threshold test for determining whether to admit disputed
expert evidence in civil and criminal trials, and provides guidance on
trial judges’ residual discretion, as evidentiary “gatekeepers,” to
screen out proposed expert evidence whose value does not justify the
risk of confusion, time and expense that may result from its admission.
The court also held that an appearance of conflict of interest, by
itself, does not render an expert’s evidence inadmissible.