MAEP Domain Prompts

Listed below are the 8 domains used in the MAEP assessment. For each domain, those providing feedback are asked to consider the following positive and negative features as prompts to help focus their feedback.

 

1.    Professionalism

Negative features

Defensive; evasive; argumentative;  pompous; gets angry or flushed; aggressive; too definite;  inflexible; intransigent; confusing; rambling; inappropriately dressed; disrespectful; unprepared; bullying manner

Positive features

Confident; dignified; appropriately authoritative; diligent; appropriately persuasive; calm; balanced; fair; personable; measured; careful; independence of thought; organised;  

        
2.    Ethics

Negative features

Opinion tailored to improve party’s prospects; includes/excludes matters suggested by others without forming independent opinion; willing to mislead as to fees; CV misleading, exaggerated or untruthful; misleads as to substance of material instructions; material omissions; in experts’ meeting seeks to mislead as to what seen/not seen; refusal to reconsider opinion; failure to comply with duty to correct or qualify when necessary; strays outside field of expertise; breaches confidentiality; fails to disclose judicial criticism or professional regulator’s adverse findings

Positive features

Honest; discreet; trustworthy; plain-dealing; impartial; unbiased; respectful of justice; moral courage; identifies potential/actual conflict of interest; uninfluenced by exigencies of litigation; restricts opinion to own field; recognises limits of expertise; refuses to change opinion to improve party’s prospects; withstands pressure to amend report where the result will cease to be independent and objective; makes clear limits of knowledge or competence; discloses any adverse criticism by judges; willingness to act pro bono or for reduced fees.

            
3.    Skills

Negative features

Inability to master complex technical/medical issues; inability to concentrate, absorb and assimilate arguments under time pressure; poor evaluative ability; inability to apply legal principles and tests; inefficiency in gathering and collating evidence; poor judgement as to reliability of evidence; poor memory of salient details; poor reasoning ability; becomes over-involved in the party’s team and loses independence of opinion

Positive features

Gets to heart of issue; masters complex technical/medical, factual issues; absorbs, assimilates, recalls sometimes unwieldy amounts of information, salient issues within time constraints; evaluates facts and applies legal principles and tests, answers legal questions; can gather, evaluate and weigh evidence reaching judgement as to reliability; analytical ability; attention to detail; logical reasoning; identifies other important issues, missing information, other necessary expertise; understands potential influence of litigation on litigant’s presentation; able to work in a team without compromising duty to court

            
4.    Reliability of opinion

Negative features

Inference/conclusions not properly researched; opinion formed on inadequate basis; failure to give reasons for opinion; failure to take into account material facts; failure to mention all matters relevant to opinion; failure to mention matters adverse to opinion; failure to include range of opinion; failure to explain why opinion is to be preferred to other opinions in the range of opinion; failure clearly to indicate opinion is qualified; failure to revise opinion taking into consideration further materials; report is in form of advocacy

Positive features

Objective; soundly, well-researched and evidence based; well-referenced; thorough consideration of all relevant facts and issues; attention to detail; well-constructed; very powerful; includes assessment of reliability of information; takes into account all material facts/relevant information; identifies weakness as well as strengths; identifies and accommodates unusual, contradictory or inconsistent features; clarity of argument and conclusion; range of reasonable opinion; indicates clearly if opinion is qualified and why; identifies and explains need for other expert opinion

            
5.    Presentation of opinion/Report

Negative features

Title of action missing; author not adequately identified; contact details insufficient; commissioner of report missing; date of report only on first page; no reference to consent; margins too narrow; font size too small; pages or paragraphs not numbered; poorly constructed;  written in third person; difficult to follow; unclear as to the issues; no explanation of methodology; difficult to compare with other expert reports; insufficient headings/subheadings; typographical errors; extreme forms of expression; mixes fact and opinion; unclear what documents or records seen; no summary of conclusions; fails to indicate underlying assumptions; insufficient details of relevant qualifications and experience; no glossary. 

Positive features

Organised; identifies title of action, case number and name of court; specialist field identified; identifies subject matter; contents page; synopsis at beginning; list of relevant parties/institutions; clear statement of substance of all material instructions; good use of headers and footers; clarity as to questions/ issues; well-constructed; internally consistent; logical; straightforward; very easy to read and understand for a lay person; easy to follow and navigate; clear; concise; succinct; neutral, non-judgmental language; short sentences; short paragraphs; facts and opinion separate; separation of different types/source of fact; shows all sources of information; attaches/includes copies of relevant unpublished documents; sufficiently detailed list of papers, chapters, books cited

            
6.    Understanding of law, procedure and rules of evidence

Negative features

Regards duty as being to instructing solicitors; misunderstands, or ignorant of relevant statute and/or case law; wrong legal test; wrong standard of proof; fails to comply with relevant rules, practice directions and protocols; missing or inaccurate declaration or statement of truth.

Positive features

Understands duty to court; understands relevant statute and/or case law; understands relevant legal tests; applies correct legal tests; understands relevant rules of evidence, eg burden and standard of proof; understands relevant rules, practice directions and protocols; appropriate and accurate declarations and statement of truth  
            
7.    Oral testimony

Negative features

Sharp; evasive; over-defensive; fences; drawn into argument or slanging match; biased; lacking independence; outraged at line of questioning; pedantic; didactic; unqualified and dogmatic opinion; too definite;  pompous; egotistical;  tries to be clever; arrogant; patronising; condescending; over-confident; unconvincing; opinion based on limited or flawed evidence; attempts to cover up, blame someone else, deny wrong; reluctance to re-examine opinion in the light of further evidence; inappropriately sticks to opinion through thick and thin; flustered; unsure; loses cool; gets angry; looks anxious, nervous, worried; inappropriately dressed; talks too loud during proceedings; talks or moves when witnesses or jury being sworn. 

Positive features

Confident; knowledgeable; authoritative; impartial; reassuring independence; careful; patient; measured;  calm; masterly; authoritative; objective; robust; internally consistent; logical; succinct; precision; clear explanation; modifies delivery, language, content according to audience; relentlessly polite,  respectful, courteous; understands evidence and arguments under time constraints; moderated response to searching, informed cross-examination; communicates clearly in spite of provocation; can entertain alternative points of view;  acknowledges fairness of points contrary to party’s case, clear rebuttal of such if appropriate; faces up to and accepts logic of propositions; appropriate concessions; willing to change/ modify opinions when appropriate; personable; jury-friendly with appropriate professional detachment from ‘the fray’; professional, dignified dress and behaviour; observes court etiquette 
            
8.    Business manners and affairs

Negative features

Difficult to contact; messages unanswered; curriculum vitae not provided; curriculum vitae insufficiently detailed to decide whether or not the expert is appropriate; date of consultation with subject of report repeatedly changed resulting in delay; report delivered after agreed deadline; delay in answering questions, meeting other party’s expert, preparing joint statement; does not make clear difficulty in attending trial; insufficiently detailed invoice

Positive features

Easy to contact; sufficient information about proposed fees; identifies and explains potential conflict of interest; explains difficulties in complying with deadlines; able to prioritise case where appropriate; easy access to up-to-date commitments list that includes sufficient details of other trials to facilitate liaison between solicitors and courts; clarity as to travelling expenses, disbursements, cancellation charges; prompt responses to requests for clarification or amendment; accurate, expeditious and ethical recording of work and invoicing. 
  

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