Is expert evidence always necessary for a professional negligence claim?

The recent case of ACD (Landscape Architects) Ltd v Overall considered issues of professional negligence and whether expert evidence is essential.  

The court indicated that elements of a counterclaim in negligence would not readily have been proved without expert evidence.  However, an application to strike out the claim for a lack of expert evidence was seen as a heavy-handed and costly approach, and the claimant could have raised the issue at a case management conference.

The court also noted that expert evidence was not required in some cases (solicitors’ negligence being the obvious example) and it may be disproportionate to obtain expert evidence at a very early stage.

Whilst most professional negligence claims will ultimately require expert evidence, the case of ACD indicates that a pragmatic and proportionate approach should be taken, at least to the stage at which the evidence is obtained.    

For a more detailed analysis, please see: