Misrepresentation of Expert Witness Testimony Explained by Situational Action Theory
Simon B N Thompson

The aim of this paper is to analyse the moral context of expert witness testimony (in Anglo-American court systems) drawing on situational action theory, a general theory of moral rule-breaking, to develop a testable framework explaining how a weak moral context may promote deviance in expert witness testimony. The core of the paper describes what rules apply to expert witness testimony and how they are (or are not) monitored and enforced. We explore contextual factors that could motivate expert witnesses into considering providing misleading testimony, and how a weak moral context around expert witness testimony could encourage their choosing to do so. We draw on exemplary legal cases involving expert witness testimony to illustrate the role of key contextual factors in the provision of misleading testimony. We conclude with a discussion on how to strengthen the moral context around expert witness testimony through clearer guidelines, closer monitoring, and greater enforcement.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v10n1a2