Expert evidence and expert advice in data science and machine learning

Expert witness services in machine learning

At Fast Data Science we offer expert witness and expert advisor services and for civil litigation in the field of machine learning, data science and artificial intelligence.

Should you require the services of a machine learning expert witness, please contact us to discuss your case.

The Director of Fast Data Science Ltd, Thomas Wood, has completed the Cardiff University Bond Solon Civil Expert Certificate and is certified to give expert evidence in civil proceedings in England and Wales. He has worked in machine learning and data science since 2009 after completing a Masters in the field at the University of Cambridge in 2008. His speciality area of data science is natural language processing, that is the science of interpreting, generating, and processing human language (especially text) with computers. He is certified by Microsoft as a Microsoft Azure Associate Data Scientist. He routinely offers services in due diligence for private equity investors and other investors who are considering acquiring companies in the machine learning and data science space.

What does a machine learning expert witness report look like?

Please click here to download an example of a CPR35/PD35 compliant expert witness report in the field of machine learning and natural language processing.

What is expert evidence?

Expert evidence is simply the opinion of the expert. An expert witness assists a court in reaching a decision by providing independent technical analysis in their field of expertise, and an opinion on the issue at hand.

Expert evidence is admissible in Court when there are open questions that require the input of an expert. The Court has the power to permit or exclude expert evidence. In some large complex cases, each party may instruct their own expert witness, and a Court may allow the appointment of more than one expert.

Our machine learning expertise

We have experience in our company in many areas of machine learning, in particular natural language processing, and including:

  • Simple vanilla models, such as Bag of words, tf*idf, cosine similarity. These often serve to provide a baseline performance before progressing to more advanced models.
  • Slightly more sophisticated models, taking word order into account, such as NLP pipelines, lemmatisation, parsers, chunkers.
  • Cutting-edge models such as deep neural networks
  • Clustering and unsupervised techniques
    • Latent Dirichlet Allocation – LDA is useful for extracting topics from a set of unstructured documents, for example, legal documents, survey responses, factory error reports, etc, where there is just an abundance of documents but no accompanying structured data or labels which could make the NLP task easier.
  • Search engines and search term recommendation systems
  • Google Natural Language, AWS, Microsoft Azure
I have broken down machine learning due diligence into code and product due diligence, model, data, IP, workflow and people.

What is an expert witness?

An expert witness is an independent expert who gives or prepares evidence in Court proceedings on matters within their expertise. An expert witness needs experience but not necessarily qualifications in their area of expertise to give expert evidence. In England and Wales, expert witnesses are the only kind of witnesses who are allowed to give both evidence of fact and evidence of opinion.

The expert evidence will normally take the form of a written report which can be presented to a judge, and in rare cases involves an appearance in Court for cross-examination.

An expert witness’s duty is strictly defined by the Civil Procedure Rules Part 35 and the accompanying Practice Direction 35. In particular, an expert witness’s duty is to the Court rather than to either party in the proceedings. So an expert witness is not a ‘hired gun’ in favour of one side or the other. Expert witnesses are approved or appointed by the Court.

Experts – overriding duty to the court

(1) It is the duty of experts to help the court on matters within their expertise.

(2) This duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom experts have received instructions or by whom they are paid.

Civil Procedure Rules 35.3

Single joint expert

Where both parties to proceedings wish to appoint an expert, the Court may appoint a single joint expert (SJE) as opposed to two opposing experts. The single joint expert then prepares a single report and corresponds with solicitors of both parties, and may be cross-examined by advocates for both parties in Court.

Expert witness vs expert advisor?

At Fast Data Science we offer both expert advisor and expert witness services in machine learning and data science. What is the difference between an expert advisor and an expert witness?

An expert advisor can be hired informally to write an expert report or give advice to a party in litigation. However, an expert witness can only be instructed by a solicitor once civil proceedings have been issued and a court has approved the use of an expert witness. Parties to proceedings must declare the use of any expert witnesses and the costs incurred to the Court. These rules avoid ‘expert shopping’, i.e. instructing multiple experts until a report favourable to a party’s case is received.

The report written by an expert advisor may take any format, such as a simple letter. However, an expert witness’s report must be compliant with the Civil Procedure Rules Part 35, and Practice Direction 35.

Should you require either an expert advisor or expert witness in machine learning, please contact us and we will be glad to assist.