Expert Report and Consultant Opinion

According to the definition in the Law on Expertise No. 6754 (03/11/2016):

Expert: Refers to real or private law legal person applied for the purpose of verbal or written vote and opinion in cases where expertise, special or technical knowledge is necessary for the solution.

Expertise report services are provided by expert academicians in the Institute of Forensic Science, Istanbul University, who are qualified in their own fields for competence which is determined according to the basic and sub specialist fields.

Institute of Forensic Sciences provides expert reports and concultant opinions on many topics dealing with forensic medicine and forensic sciences with it’s staff composed of forensic experts, forensic dentists; forensic life sciences specialists with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics etc.; forensic social science specialists with undergraduate study in law, psychology, pedagogy, anthropology, etc.; forensic genetic specialists and specialists and academics from many more fields.

The frequently asked questions during the expert report and consultant opinion applications made to Istanbul University Forensic Medicine Institute are listed below:

  • Malpractice
  • Disability
  • Text, signature, judicial document examinations
  • Genealogy;
  • All kinds of forensic genetic studies
  • Sexual assault cases
  • Clinical forensics
  • Death (autopsy), injury cases
  • Event reconstruction with blood stain pattern analysis
  • Criminal and judicial license cases
  • Reliability of testimony (and other subjects that social sciences can give opinion)

Please contact us for information about your service requests outside of the topics mentioned above. For application and information please call +90 (212) 414 30 00 (Ext. 22803).Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between a expert witness and a consultant?

Expert witness refers to a real or private law legal person who is asked to give his opinion verbally or in writing in cases where expertise, special or technical knowledge is necessary for the solution. The consultant opinion is, however, that the parties receive a scientific evaluation from the specialist regarding the matter of the case.

Expert witnesses are selected by court. The district courts in which the experts are appointed are included in the expert witness list defined by jurisdiction. Judicial appointments commissions are subject to Article 268 of the Law on Civil Procedure, which is based on observing the expert lists to be held every year. The consultant opinion is taken by the parties, prosecutor or lawyer, from experienced and competent experts in the related field.

What does consultant opinion stand for?

It is the opportunity to take scientific opinions from the specialist as specified in Article 67 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Civil Code) No 5271 and Article 293 of the Law Civil Procedure Code No 6100.

When to apply for an consultant opinion?

Parties often apply to consultant opinion if the expert report received by judicial authorities does not support what they claim or advocate.

What are the advantages of the consultant opinion?

  • The consultant of the controversy can be chosen not only from a general field of expertise but also from those who have in-depth knowledge and competence in the subject,
  • Being able to select expert scientists who are not occupied in heavy duty routine, therefore, questioned subject is asserted openly, comprehensible by the people outside the profession and can be inspected by the judicial authorities and if necessary, supported by tables, figures, diagrams, pictures, photographs,
  • The fact that the expert opinions are often of original quality, thus, accompanies the necessity of literature research that goes beyond the standard practice that is time consuming, demanding and painstaking,
  • In the expert report taken by the judicial authorities, it is possible to reveal important issues that have been overlooked, miscalculated or misevaluated,
  • Guides the experts appointed by the courts to be more rigorous and careful about report arrangements,
  • Lawyers’ grievances in the form of “we lost the case because of a faulty expert report” have the potential to turn into a “Starting from the investigation of the crime scene on the expert’s side,
  • The potential of “lost the case due to a faulty exptert report” and such complaints by lawyers giving way to “we could not get a consultant report”,
  • evaluating the whole process from the collection of the forensic evidence to the carrying and analysis of the forensic evidence, revealing the existing deficiencies,
  • The ability to set forth the conclusive force of evidence due to revealing inadequacies through the consultant opinion that evaluates the whole process begining with crime scene investigation to forensic evidence collection, transfer and analysis,
  • The examination of the opinion by inviting the consultant to the court, the questioning by the parties themselves, and more importantly, the cross-examination of the consultants of both parties.

Does document against payment affect the reliability of the consultant opinion?

This particular concern is the most unfavorable factor in the reliability of the system. The contradiction of an consultant opinion contrary to impartiality with the existing expert report may be proved by the questions posed by judges and / or party representatives, as well as by the expert opinion of the other party.

Another measure in this regard is the wage system, which is being implemented by specialist institutions such as the Institute of Forensic Science, Istanbul University. The Institute of Forensic Science has set minimum and maximum rates, and a fee is set between these limits according to the weight of the file and the number of consultants who will participate in the review. Consultants who have invested in the revolving fund vest and paid the fee are given a share not exceeding 50% of this fee. The fee is based on the amount of time, labor, expertise and level of knowledge to be spent on the facts, not on the level of wealth and prosperity of the parties, and the insurance system is never charged.

Will it lead to unnecessary controversies in time of trial in jurisdiction?

 It is stated that in both the CMK 67/6 and the HMK 293 that consultant opinion will not require additional time. For this reason, as the institution will not have a direct contribution to the prolongation of the judicial process, this institution and justice can not be delayed.

Evaluating and discussing the consultant opinion is not a loss of time and effort, but rather a supporter of justice. The more the file is discussed in the first degree court, the lower the decision to go to the upper courts and the rejection from the upper courts.

Will the judge / public prosecutor occupy unnecessary times? Is it necessary to evaluate the factors involved in the discussion, in fact to deal with the inaccurate contradictions?

The examination of the consultant opinion by the judge and/or the prosecutors is not a waste of time, but it results in the fact that the judge has not enough expertise on the subject of trial, but that he or she has the opinion that he can have a conscientious opinion.

The whole process, from evidence gathered by the judicial police to the analysis of these evidence carried out by the official laboratories is criticized in expert opinions.

This is not a prejudice, but a correct opinion. The identification of the inadequacies and the exposure of the effect of the scientific conclusions are an element which is inherent in consultant opinions and which makes this establishment useful. In particular, it is essential that the evidence is collected by the state-affiliated units, notably in the criminal proceedings, should not leave any doubt in the investigation or prosecution process.

To explain this with an example; if adversely decided due to non or incomplete testing (PSA, Zinc Test, Alkaline Phosphatase and microscopic examination) that may prove that the stain found on the clothing of a woman who is alleged to be a victim of sexual assault that could have been determined as semen as well as a perfect match with the suspect DNA profile;  such inadequacies will be the most important issue that the consultant opinion will overcome.

Judicial authorities consider the expert report and do not take the consultant opinion seriously. Is this true?

This prejudice is widely spoken especially among lawyers. There is no legal difference between the expert report that the court has appointed and the consultant opinion of the parties. However, unfortunately, due to many reasons mentioned above, the importance of consultant opinion is not given its share of importance. However, both are among the judicial claims in the eyes of the court, and careful evaluation of all the matters in the trial, together with the expected attitude of the judge with reasonable suspicion as to the way of taking the consultant opinion, should not be regarded as time and effort loss. This prejudice is the most important obstacle for lawyers to request consultant opinion.

Professor Dr. Faruk AŞICIOĞLU, MD, PhD

Institute Director

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