Thursday, 5 August, 12:30–13:15
One of the most testing experiences of an environmental consultant’s career must be performing the role of expert witness at a hearing or public inquiry. It is the pinnacle of years of hard work and experience, but can nevertheless be quite an intimidating challenge. Whether you are a client keen to have your ecological issues well represented at an important inquiry or a consultant wanting to test your mettle and stand up to the challenge of cross-examination, the principles are the same: an expert witness needs to convey their arguments with clarity, integrity and confidence.
In this webinar, Jon Davies, Director at RSK Wilding, Nature Positive and RSK Biocensus, will attempt to dispel some of the myths and fears around giving evidence by drawing on his own experience, using the year-long M4 corridor around Newport inquiry as a case study. He will set out what public inquiries, examinations and hearings are and why ecologists and/or environmental consultants often need to get involved. He will explain why it is especially important for ecology expert witnesses to be on top of their game on the subject of protected species (and other environmental) legislation and the other key issues on which they might be tested, in particular the survey methodologies used to underpin their assessments and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation proposed. Jon will give some tips on how expert witnesses should prepare and present themselves most effectively, not only to ensure that they come across as professionally as they can on behalf of their client, but also so that they represent the scientific rigour, objectivity and integrity of the ecology industry in the best way possible.