Analysis conducted by the MDTF-JSS team on the role of expert witnesses in judicial system of the Republic of Serbia has shown that, in the practice, there is a serious shortage of high quality expertise needed for trials. Experienced expert witnesses are frequently used by the courts and overburdened with work. At any given moment each such expert has 50 or more engagements. Consequently, delays are inevitable. In addition to expert witnesses’ breaches of deadlines, the main reason for trial adjournments is poor trial management. Requests for additional time to review expert witness opinion submitted by parties are common and prolong trial duration.
Development of findings was based on a desk research and analysis of implementation of legislation in practice which included review of cases in basic and commercial courts in Belgrade (First Basic Court), Niš, Subotica and Užice. The purpose of the analysis was to identify the key issues related to engagement of expert witnesses in distinct types of court proceedings. The participation of expert witnesses in court proceedings has shown to significantly impact the efficiency of justice, so the report provides recommendations on how to improve expert witness appointment, selection and engagement in trials.