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What is a Finance Expert Witness?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 March 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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A finance expert witness is someone with specialized knowledge in economics or finance who is petitioned to provide a testimony during a court trial. His or her expertise will be used to prove or disprove theories or facts presented in the case. Both the prosecution and the defendant’s attorney may hire a finance expert witness if necessary.

The main criteria needed for someone to become a finance expert witness is that he or she have substantial knowledge in finance and be established as an expert in the field. This knowledge may have been obtained through education, experience, or a combination of the two. Published papers, awards, and other achievements may also be taken into consideration when choosing a witness.

When choosing a finance expert witness, the hiring attorney may also choose someone with knowledge in a particular area of finance. For instance, if someone is on trial for tax evasion, the prosecution may hire someone who is an expert on taxes, tax law, or another area involved with the payment and recording or taxes. More than one expert witness may be hired if various aspects of finance are being investigated.

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In the majority of cases, the potential finance expert witness will be interviewed and asked to give his or her credentials. He or she will also be questioned by the opposing attorney, and his or her demeanor while answering questions will be studied. The person hired should be believable and likable to avoid turning off the jury. He or she should be good at handling pressure during cross examination, and giving answers to complicated questions in terms that jurors will understand.

Payment is generally offered to the finance expert witness for each day he or she is involved with the case. Aside from the actual trial, the witness will often be asked to review files and conduct studies involving financial records in questions. After everything has been studied, he or she will have to give an expert opinion on the findings. The opinion should not be in conflict with the attorney’s case, otherwise another witness may be hired.

During the trial the finance expert witness will be examined and cross-examined about the evidence he or she has reviewed. Questions may also be asked to gain the witness’s personal opinion on motivations for certain financial crimes, how such crimes may be carried out, and how they are discovered. He or she will likely be asked about financial statements in question and asked to provide an opinion on the case.

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