What is the difference between a professional witness and an expert witness?

Your role as a professional witness, also known as a 'witness to fact', is to help a court or tribunal establish the facts by giving first-hand oral evidence of your clinical involvement with a patient. You may also be asked to give your professional interpretation of the facts while on the stand.

Any dental professional may be called as a professional witness. By contrast, an expert witness provides the court with an impartial opinion based on their expertise in general dental practice or the relevant dental specialty. Lawyers will base their decision on how to proceed with a case largely on the expert's opinion, and their evidence is often important in determining the outcome.

This page was correct at publication on 29/07/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.