Capsules 21-22: Opinion and Expert Evidence

These three capsules consider the law governing opinion evidence.  Capsule 21A introduces the rule against opinion evidence and the exception for non-expert opinion evidence.  Capsule 21B  introduces the major issues concerning expert opinion.  Capsule 22 delves more deeply into expert opinion evidence, covering the most significant restrictions on the use of this type of witness.

As always, a few caveats!

  1. Needless to say, this is not legal advice.  It is designed to provide introductory explanations of certain topics in the law of evidence.
  2. These materials were designed for my students taking part in the Flipped Classroom – as such they are NOT supposed to be comprehensive or exhaustive of the subject.
  3. They were made with time constraints in mind.  There are errors throughout, and though I feel confident about the product generally, I did not attempt to correct every mistake made.  The goal was to put a good product together in a short period of time.
  4. Often, in the interests of time, certain points are generalized.  This doesn’t mean they’re “wrong”, but nuances are often fleshed out in the course materials or in class.  Rather than include caveats with every sentence, I sometimes make broad generalizations even though I’m aware there might be exceptions that can occasionally arise.  Again, the goal is to promote a generalized understanding that provides a platform for deeper learning.
  5. I will heartily disavow any attempt to rely upon these in conflict with another Professor, judge, lawyer, etc.  Thus, anyone who says “yes, but Professor Sankoff said X”… will receive no support from me!  Especially where exams are concerned, it is always good practice to follow your Professor’s view of the law.  If this material helps you, by all means use it, but do so with care.

Capsule 21A – Opinion Evidence and Non-Expert Opinion

For more detail focusing on how to distinguish expert from non-expert opinion, and why that is important, check out this Video Blog on the topic.

Capsule 21B – Expert Opinion: Overview

This capsule was revised in 2015 to address the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in White Burgess Langille Inman v Abbott and Haliburton Inc., 2015 SCC 23.

Capsule 22 – Expert Opinion: Restrictions

This capsule was revised in 2015 to address the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to make impartiality a condition of admissibility in White Burgess Langille Inman v Abbott and Haliburton Inc., 2015 SCC 23.

This material has taken considerable time and effort to produce.  I ask only two things in return.  First, if you like these capsules – pass them on.  The primary objective here is to share a deeper understanding for the subject area I love most.  Second, if any of this was in any way useful, I urge you to let me know.  A short note at psankoff@ualberta.ca would really make my day!

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