Lawyer Monthly - April 2022

with only 5% of airline pilots being female. EasyJet’s Amy Johnson sponsorship scheme, aiming to attract young female pilots, is a praiseworthy step in the right direction, but one yet to be emulated by other airlines. The Woolf reforms and the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999 have brought welcome improvements to expert witness practice in England and Wales, although not yet in Scotland. The EWI Certification qualification is the new gold standard for UK expert witnesses, and I look forward to the day when all expert witnesses are required to be qualified in some way. Roughly speaking, what proportion of your career has consisted of your expert witness practice? I came to expert witness work quite late in my career, in my mid-50s. However, this meant that I had acquired a wide experience of aviation matters, together with the benefits of a long airline management career. The latter has been helpful when writing complex reports, in working with aviation non-experts, and also when having to ‘think on one’s feet’. What qualitieswould you attribute to an effective expert witness? First and foremost, expertise in one’s specialisation, sine qua non. Then the ability to take a complicated topic and make it easily understood by non-experts. Writing skill is clearly essential – reliance on spell and grammar checks is not good enough and easily spotted! A good expert witness will have a firm, but not inflexible, character. And then, of course, personal integrity. Captain Chris Turner My life in aviation began as a 17-yearold schoolboy, flying single-engine light aircraft from a grass airfield at White Waltham near Maidenhead. Fast-forward to a commercial flying career which began as an airline co-pilot at age 20, then through to Captaincy on various Boeing types, into an airline management career culminating as Operations Director of Britannia Airways (now known as TUI Airways). In my airline management career, I filled a variety of posts – Simulator Manager, Head of Flight Operations, Chief Pilot inter alia. This gave me a broad knowledge of aviation, an understanding of the wider business world, and a host of aviation contacts which enabled me to set up the expert witness business Axten Aviation. The Axten Aviation team are a carefully selected group, all acknowledged experts in their specific field. The team comprises airline and light aircraft pilots, helicopter pilots, jet engine specialists, aircraft and helicopter engineers, air traffic control and safety experts. They have produced expert witness reports covering aviation accidents and incidents, engineering cases, leasing disputes, airfield planning problems, and employment issues. Reports have been roughly equally split between claimants and defendants, with several on a single joint expert basis. All reports are peer-reviewed through our quality control system which ensures that reports are ‘clear, complete and consistent’. Training for expert witnesses is vitally important and Axten’s team members have completed courses with the Expert Witness Institute (EWI), Bond Solon, Access Aviation and Quadrant Chambers. What advicewould yougive toanother experiencedaviation professional looking to trainas anexpert witness? In common with other professionals, aviation employees are proud and confident in their abilities and skills in their personal roles. The excellent safety record of the aviation industry is due in great part to the professionalism of its managers, pilots, engineers, cabin crew and other employees. But pride and confidence alone are not enough – I would suggest asking oneself a few questions. As a starter, are you reasonably familiar with the Civil Aviation Authority, European Aviation Safety Agency and International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations and publications? Can you break down complex concepts into parts that are easy to understand? Are you used to standing up in front of a potentially hostile audience and fielding tricky questions? If required, can you ‘stick to your guns’ under fire? And are you truly expert and knowledgeable enough in your aviation specialism to undertake expert witness work? From there, it is important to undergo training with one of the expert witness organisations, such as the Expert Witness Institute. Other commercial bodies, such as Bond Solon, also offer suitable courses. Report writing, Civil Procedures Rules and cross-examination training are a minimum in my view. Mentoring by another experienced expert witness can be very helpful in one’s first few cases. Opinion must always remain entirely that of the instructed expert witness, but an experienced mentor can help avoid pitfalls. My final piece of advice to the aspiring aviation expert witness would be to join the Axten Aviation team! 88 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | APR 2022 EXPERT WITNESS

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mjk3Mzkz