The Implications of Failing to Object to an Expert Report in Legal Proceedings
Expert witness testimony plays a crucial role in legal proceedings, particularly in cases that require specialized technical knowledge beyond the scope of the law. It can be invoked at the request of either party involved or ordered by the court itself. In essence, it serves as a means of substantiating claims with specialized knowledge—what we call “special knowledge” includes researched and substantiated information about a specific field of science. In contrast, “technical knowledge” encompasses undisputed facts derived from the data of the exact sciences.
An expert witness is tasked with providing a comprehensive report that explicitly addresses the questions posed to them and explains the subject matter in question. When faced with issues that cannot be technically resolved or when determining a particular value proves infeasible, the expert witness must state so, along with the reasoning behind it. Furthermore, there should be no inconsistencies within the expert report, and it must be conducive to the court’s and the parties’ evaluations. It’s important to note that expert witnesses are not empowered to provide legal opinions.
According to Article 281/1 of the CCP, parties to a case have the right to object to an expert report within two weeks from the date of its notification. Such objections must be concrete and reasoned. Parties may use these objections to request the expert to provide missing information in the report, seek clarification on ambiguous matters, or even request the appointment of a new expert if necessary.
It’s essential to understand that parties are not obliged to object to an expert report. However, if one party refrains from objecting, the report will become final and binding for the non-objecting party. According to established jurisprudence by the Court of Cassation in Turkey, when one party fails to object to an expert report, the party that does object gains a procedural acquired right, even if the judge notices the omission.
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In a decision dated November 25, 2021, the 6th Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation stated, “The Turkish Code of Civil Procedure classifies expert examinations as evidence under the title ‘discretionary evidence,’ and it states that the judge is free to evaluate the expert’s opinion. Article 281 of the Turkish Code of Civil Procedure, titled ‘Objection to the Expert Report,’ contains provisions granting parties the right to object to the expert report during the course of proceedings. This right, as enshrined in Article 281 of the CCP, calls for evaluating whether an acquired right arises if this right is not exercised. However, the Turkish Code of Civil Procedure does not explicitly define the concept of a ‘procedural acquired right.’ This legal construct has been developed through Court of Cassation decisions and is widely recognized in doctrine.”
In essence, a procedural acquired right or “procedural vested right” is a legal concept intended to prevent undue delays in court proceedings, ensure legal stability, and prevent challenges to judicial decisions that could undermine public confidence in the legal system. It represents a right that has vested in a party due to a procedural act, such as failing to object to an expert report.
To ascertain whether a procedural acquired right has arisen, the following factors must be considered:
- A Procedural Act: A procedural act, such as the failure to object to an expert report, must have occurred.
- Favorable Consequences: The act should have led to favorable consequences for one party.
- Obligatory Nature: The right resulting from the procedural act must be mandatory and undeniable.
- No Exceptions: The legal system provides no exceptions that would nullify the procedural acquired right.
While widely recognized, the concept of a procedural acquired right needs to be explicitly codified in the Turkish Code of Civil Procedure. Therefore, parties and legal practitioners must be aware of its implications when dealing with expert reports in legal proceedings.
In summary, failing to object to an expert report in legal proceedings in Turkey can lead to the expert report becoming final and binding for the non-objecting party, granting the objecting party a procedural acquired right. However, this concept has specific legal requirements that must be met to apply effectively, and it’s crucial for all parties involved to understand its implications in the context of expert testimony in court proceedings.
Therefore, regarding expert reports and legal proceedings, Alfa Law’s expert attorneys understand the significance of timely and practical actions. As discussed in this article, refraining from objecting to an expert report can have far-reaching consequences. Hence, having a proficient and multilingual lawyer on your side is crucial, especially if you’re dealing with legal matters in a foreign jurisdiction like Turkey. Turkish lawyer in Antalya, Ceren Topçu İncetaban, and her law firm Alfa Law, offer comprehensive legal support and guidance throughout the process.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for expert legal advice and representation. Contact Alfa Law Firm today, and let our multilingual lawyers help you resolve your legal issues in Turkey with confidence. Your peace of mind is our priority, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.