“Hot Tubbing” in the Courtroom-Australians Lead the Way

March 3, 2010

This fascinating bit of trivia is from the Science & Law Blog: “Hot Tubbing is Old Wine in New Bottles for Expert Witnesses”
The New York Times has discovered that expert witnesses retained by parties often are partisan. (Note: This is NOT science. It’s a “Duh!”) This certainly is fit to print, but is it news? Not to anyone who has been reading law reviews and opinions written during the past century or two.

Still, the Times revealed that the Australians have discovered a way to improve expert testimony.  Australians have dubbed it “hot tubbing” as in “we’re all in hot water together”:
In the courtroom, Australian judges require that opposing parties’ expert witness must present their cases in what’s  called concurrent evidence or “hot tubbing”. Experts are still chosen by the respective parties, but they testify together at trial — discussing the case, asking each other questions, responding to inquiries from the judge and the lawyers, finding common ground and sharpening the open issues.
Interestingly, “Australian judges have embraced hot tubbing.” According to UCLA law professor Jennifer Mnookin, “the future … may belong to Australia. ‘Hot tubbing,’ she said, ‘is much more interesting than (so called) neutral experts.’”
“Hot tubbing” legal term or no, it’s a great way to get together. Will it catch on in the U.S.? Will opposing expert witness be required to present their cases together aka “hot tubbing”?

SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health through Water.

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