A simple guide to understanding hot-tubbing interrogations

Have you ever heard of hot-tubbing in legal terms? Although the name might suggest otherwise, the term does not refer to a relaxing dip in a spa bath! This Legal Kitz blog will run you through a full explanation of what ‘hot-tubbing’ actually is.

What does hot-tubbing mean?

Hot-tubbing is the practise of having two or more experts provide a testimony simultaneously. This is a technique used when people are asked to testify in a case or legal matter. This practise can also be referred to as “concurrent evidence” or “expert panels”. It is a deliberate strategy intended to identify before trial the points of contention between parties.

The steps in the procedure are as follows: 

1. The experts hired by the parties create their own reports; 

2. They exchange reports with the other experts; and 

3. The experts all come together to draught a joint report. This document provides an overview of all points of agreement and disagreement; 

4. Using the joint report as a template, the parties create an agenda to direct the concurrent presentation of expert testimony at trial.

The experts are both sworn in and testify jointly during the trial. This informs the presentation of evidence to resemble a dialogue. The experts were questioned by the judge and attorneys. Experts also cross-examine one another. The Judge oversees and directs the procedure to keep it organised and focused.

In the world of law, hot-tubbing is a relatively new phenomenon. It differs from the conventional adversarial strategy in which the attorneys for each party cross-examine and question the experts retained by the opposing party individually.

Advantages of Hot-Tubbing

There are numerous advantages of hot-tubbing. These include:

1. The method makes it easier to identify the legal issues that are in dispute since it encourages experts to consult with one another both before and during the trial. That might make the situation easier to deal with.

2. Compared to the conventional way of evaluating expert testimony, hot-tubbing is less contentious. In general, experts feel more at ease and are less concerned about being misunderstood in court.

3. The procedure has a tendency to shorten the trial’s duration. Before trial, it identifies the points of conflict between the parties and enables immediate discussion of the most important issues. By separating out problems, cases can be resolved as swiftly and fairly as possible.

Hot-tubbing is a deliberate strategy.

Disadvantages of Hot-Tubbing

The following problems are “cons,” however they are not necessarily drawbacks. Any negative effects from them can be lessened with good management. These include:

1. Hot-tubbing might not cut down on the overall expense of legal disputes. It is at most cost-neutral. It can be expensive for the parties initially since it requires a great deal of logistical effort from experts and attorneys. Hot-tubbing can save the parties money at this point in the process, too, as it tends to minimise the trial’s duration and expense.

2. The presiding judge has a significant impact on the outcome of hot-tubbing during a trial. Therefore, the standard processing management skills are required of the judge, as there can be a margin of error in the procedure. The majority of courts, though, have devised protocols to reduce this risk.

3. Hot-tubbing represents a shift in legal convention. While that may not necessarily be a drawback, it does require that practitioners have access to the right training in order to become skilled in the practice.

Legal Advice

If you are still unsure of the formalities around organising a hot-tubbing procedure, our sister company, Legal Kitz, can assist you. You can book a free 30-minute consultation with their experienced and highly qualified team via our website now.

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