Labour Law South Africa
The Evaluation of Expert Opinion and Testimony
A proper and appropriate approach to be taken by our courts in the evaluation of expert opinionand testimony in medical cases (particularly when opposing and conflicting expert views are presented), the leading authority is the case of Michael v Linksfield Park Clinic (Pty) Ltd & Anor 2001 (3) SA 1188 (SCA).
The Supreme Court of Appeal discussed and dealt with the following aspects in regard to the
testimony of medical experts produced during the course of the trial:
- the “test” or approach to be applied in evaluating the merits and/or demerits and the acceptability or otherwise of such expert testimony and opinion;
- the pre-requisite of integrity, independence, expertise and objectivity on the part of such expert witnesses;
- the extent to which the views and/or opinions expressed by such experts were collective and/or representative of and reflected the generally-held views in their particular professional field(s); and
- that expert opinion needs to be reasonable, must be founded on a logical basis and should be capable of withstanding the “test” of logical analysis and careful scrutiny.
Where applicable, plaintiff’s and defendant’s respective cases will be evaluated
hereunder in accordance with the aforegoing approach and principles.