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Expert Testimony, Qualifications of Experts

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence and virtually all state codes, expertise is defined by the nature and scope of the proffered opinion. The basic issue with regard to a qualifications assessment is whether the witness has the background to support his or her intended testimony. An expert must be qualified to “assist the trier of fact.” But no strict tests or minimum requirements apply to the assessment of qualified expertise. The level of qualifications required varies with the demands of the proffered testimony.

The Federal Rules of Evidence, for example, define qualifications broadly, encompassing “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.” In general, courts interpret the main qualifications requirement in relation to the expert's claimed expertise and the nature of the testimony. Hence, experts on medical ...

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