Whitehouse v Jordan: HL 17 Dec 1980

The plaintiff sued for brain damage suffered at birth by use of forceps at the alleged professional negligence of his doctor. The Court of Appeal had reversed the judge’s finding in his favour.
Held: In this case most of the evidence at issue was that of expert witnesses, and the court might therefore be more ready to depart from findings of fact by the judge.
Lord Wilberforce said as to expert evidence: ‘While some degree of consultation between experts and legal advisers is entirely proper, it is necessary that expert evidence presented to the court should be, and should be seen to be, the independent product of the expert, uninfluenced as to form or content by the exigencies of litigation. To the extent that it is not, the evidence is likely to be not only incorrect but self defeating.’
Lord Wilberforce, Lord Edmund-Davies, Lord Fraser of Tullybelton, Lord Russell of Killowen, Lord Bridge of Harwich
[1981] 1 WLR 246, [1980] UKHL 12, [1981] 1 All ER 267
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBland v Ross (Ship Julia) (Admiralty) PC 1860
The court considered the care needed in an appellate court in reversing a decision on the facts. Lord Kingsdown said that: ‘They, who require this Board, under such circumstances to reverse a decision of the court below upon a point of this . .
CitedThe Glannibanta CA 1876
‘Now we feel, as strongly as did the Lords of the Privy Council in the cases just referred to [The Julia 14 Moo P.C. 210 and The Alice L.R. 2 P.C. 245], the great weight that is due to the decision of a judge of first instance whenever, in a . .
CitedClarke v Edinburgh and District Tramways Co HL 1919
The House considered the ability of an appellate court to reconsider the facts.
Held: The privileges enjoyed by a trial judge extend not only to questions of credibility.
Lord Shaw said that the judge enjoys ‘those advantages, sometimes . .
CitedSS Hontestroom v SS Sagaporack HL 1927
The court discussed the weight to be given by an appellate court to findings of fact made by the court of first instance.
Held: Not to have seen the witnesses puts appellate judges in a permanent position of disadvantage as against the trial . .
CitedBolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee QBD 1957
Professional to use Skilled Persons Ordinary Care
Negligence was alleged against a doctor.
Held: McNair J directed the jury: ‘Where some special skill is exercised, the test for negligence is not the test of the man on the Clapham omnibus, because he has not got this special skill. The test . .
MentionedChin Keow v Government of Malaysia PC 1967
. .
CitedPowell v Streatham Manor Nursing Home HL 1935
Where the Judge at the trial has come to a conclusion upon the question which of the witnesses, whom he has seen and heard, are trustworthy and which are not, he is normally in a better position to judge of this matter than the appellate tribunal . .
ApprovedSS Hontestroom v SS Sagaporack HL 1927
The court discussed the weight to be given by an appellate court to findings of fact made by the court of first instance.
Held: Not to have seen the witnesses puts appellate judges in a permanent position of disadvantage as against the trial . .

Cited by:
CitedMeadow v General Medical Council Admn 17-Feb-2006
The appellant challenged being struck off the medical register. He had given expert evidence in a criminal case which was found misleading and to have contributed to a wrongful conviction for murder.
Held: The evidence though mistaken was . .
CitedToth v Jarman CA 19-Jul-2006
The claimant appealed dismissal of his claim for damages for nervous shock, associated with the alleged negligence of the defendant doctor in treating his son. It was said that the medical expert had not disclosed a conflict of interest.
Held: . .
CitedNational Justice Compania Naviera S A v Prudential Assurance Company Ltd (‘The Ikarian Reefer’) 1993
Cresswell J spoke of the nature of the duty owed by expert witnesses: ‘The duties and responsibilities of expert witnesses in civil cases include the following:

1. Expert evidence presented to the Court should be, and should be seen to be, the . .
CitedArmchair Passenger Transport Ltd v Helical Bar Plc and Another QBD 28-Feb-2003
Objection was made to the use of an expert witness who had formerly been a senior employee of the defendant.
Held: The court set out criteria for testing the independence of a proposed expert witness: ‘i) It is always desirable that an expert . .
CitedThe Queen v Crawford PC 11-Nov-2015
From the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands – The crown appealed against the quashing of the respondent’s conviction for possession of an unlicensed firearm. A gun was found where he had been seen to discard a gun whilst being chased. The . .
CitedSidaway v Board of Governors of the Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital HL 21-Feb-1985
The plaintiff alleged negligence in the failure by a surgeon to disclose or explain to her the risks inherent in the operation which he had advised.
Held: The appeal failed. A mentally competent patient has an absolute right to refuse to . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 28 January 2021; Ref: scu.238567