Articles from October 2014

Law Society holds Experts in Legal Proceedings advocacy course

Duo_BSC1152 (Medium)Law Society holds Experts in Legal Proceedings advocacy course

 The Isle of Man Law Society’s latest advocacy training programme brought together two eminent legal practitioners to deliver a course on the use of experts in legal proceedings.

 Retired QC Adrian Whitfield has appeared in many landmark clinical negligence and healthcare cases. He is a former head of advocacy at MiddleTemple and holds the AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) 25th Anniversary award for outstanding contribution in the fields of patient safety and justice.

 Barrister Richard Samuel is a commercial law barrister and specialist in international arbitration and professional negligence. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators he trains lawyers in arbitration advocacy around the world including Dubai, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Milan, Venice and Switzerland.

 Between them they  have considerable experience of examining and cross-examining expert witnesses.

 The programme included lectures, group exercises, demonstrations and a closing Q and A session. A wide range of expert evidence-themed issues was covered, from posing the question ‘Why do we need experts?’ to discussing differences between descriptive and opinion-based evidence, exploring the concept of a ‘lead’ expert and observing shifts in attitudes towards expert witnesses over the last 10 years.

 Mr Whitfield said: ‘In very many categories of litigation, expert evidence is required to provide information which is likely to be outside the experience and knowledge of a judge or jury, and to provide reliable opinion within the specialist field of the expert, so as  to help the judge or jury in arriving at a just conclusion. This requirement imposes a challenge on the advocate, who may well have no relevant expertise.

 ‘First, the issues upon which expert assistance is required must be identified, and then the expert or experts appropriate to the case must be found and instructed. With expert help, the advocate must then work up the case to such an extent that he understands what the expert is saying, and is able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the case.  He should be sufficiently on top of it to be able to advise on the need, if any, for further evidence, and to formulate the case well in advance of litigation. If the matter goes to court the advocate should be able to present his own case clearly, to cross examine opposing experts effectively, and to present the argument to the judge or jury persuasively and succinctly.

  ‘With our different professional backgrounds all of us have experience of training advocates outside the United Kingdom, and during the course explored the extent to which our own experience might be helpful to those practising in the Isle of Man. It was our aim to work with and develop the existing skills of delegates, to increase their confidence and further their understanding of the essential but demanding art of presenting expert evidence.’

 Arranged by the Isle of Man Law Society, the course formed part of the Society’s career development programme designed to expose advocates to specialist legal expertise. The next training course in November will cover the responsibilities of duty advocates whilst acting as duty advocates in the police station and at the courts


Society Visits Law Society of Scotland

The President and CEO of the Isle of Man Law Society were delighted to be included in the guest list of the Law Society of Scotland at their recent post-referendum conference. The conference was attended by Scottish solicitors; politicians and representatives of  law societies from other jurisdictions. With a profession of 11,000 the volume of matters handled by the Scottish law society is considerably greater than that dealt with by our Society but the issues remain the same: professional standards; public interest and professional education and training.

We enjoy a close working relationship with the Scottish Society as we do with the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales and the Law Societies of Ireland and N. Ireland.


2014 Caroline Weatherill Lecture -QC unearths wealth of experience

Caroline Weatherill Memorial Lecture

The legal complexities of exhumation, the hanging of the Manchester Martyrs in 1867 and the crimes of serial killer Dr Harold Shipman provided much of the material for the 2014 Caroline Weatherill Memorial Lecture given by the Isle of Man Judge of Appeal, Geoffrey Tattersall QC.


His Honour first paid tribute to Caroline Weatherill who tragically died at an early age in 2006, leaving husband Lawrence, a practising advocate, and four children, describing her as ‘a very doughty advocate’ who had enjoyed the respect of her clients and colleagues.


The audience at the ManxMuseum then heard His Honour, a self-confessed ‘serial collector of part-time jobs’ draw on his wealth of experience in ecclesiastical law, personal injury and clinical negligence and as Chancellor of the Dioceses of Manchester and Carlisle to deliver a talk he had titled ‘A litany of exhumations’.


Coffins unearthed in Cumbria through flooding, a skeleton in a Bolton cellar, riots at HM Prison Manchester (Strangeways), the public hanging of the Manchester Martyrs and his involvement in the four-year Harold Shipman enquiry made for an insightful and absorbing lecture.


His Honour closed by saying how much he enjoyed his visits to the Isle of Man. It was, however, an enjoyment tempered with some reservations. ‘I’m not keen on fairies, cats and motorbikes, though,’ he said.


The evening concluded with a vote of thanks from Isle of Man Law Society President Kevin O’Riordan who presented His Honour with a set of cufflinks of a design specially commissioned by the Society and given in appreciation to each Caroline Weatherill Memorial Lecture male speaker.


The Caroline Weatherill Memorial Lecture was organised by the Isle of Man Law Society and generously sponsored by Conister Bank and advocates’ practices Appleby (Isle of Man) LLC and Cains.




George Johnson Law Prize

George Johnson Law Prize

The Society is delighted to report that Andrew Newton of Appleby  has been awarded the 2014 George Johnson Law Prize for his essay on the importance of the Rule of Law on economic development.  This essay can be read on the Law Society website. 

A presentation was made by His Honour Deemster Doyle at The Isle of Man Law Society.



2014 Caroline Weatherhill Memorial Lecture

The Isle of Man Law Society is delighted to announce that the Isle of Man Judge of Appeal, Geoffrey Tattersall QC, is to give the 2014 Caroline Weatherhill Memorial Lecture. A leading barrister in England and Wales, His Honour is an expert in personal injury and clinical negligence. In addition, he practices in the field of ecclesiastical law and holds the offices of Chancellor of the Dioceses of Manchester and Carlisle; it is from these areas of his professional life that he will draw inspiration for his lecture. While the lecture is organised by the Isle of Man Law Society, it is again generously sponsored by Conister Bank and advocates’ practices Appleby (Isle of Man) LLC and Cains. The event will take place on Thursday October 16th at 6pm at the Manx Museum, to be preceded by a reception from 5pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend. Admission is free but only upon reservation and places are limited. Bookings must be made by no later than October 1st. To reserve a place contact Jacky Lloyd,