1.
Background

1.1

The Asia Pacific Institute of Experts (“APIEx”) is a Singapore-based registered society which aims to spearhead the development of professional expertise in the field of expert evidence both locally and in the Asia Pacific region. A core mission of the society is to develop and provide a framework for the accreditation of experts to meet international standards. This mission will be achieved through education, training and collaboration in local and regional conferences and workshops in the Asia Pacific region.

 1.2

Through the various activities that APIEx undertakes, its principal objective is to achieve common standards in expert witness work in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region. To this end, APIEx Members must possess the diligence and competence in their respective field to undertake expert witness work. In order to achieve the aims of justice, APIEx Members must subscribe to the principles of candour, objectivity and fairness when called upon to provide expert evidence. These standards guide the conduct of the APIEx Members and his or her working relationship with the various stakeholders in the dispute resolution process.

 1.3 The APIEx commits to promoting the expert witness by providing support to experts in all professional disciplines and other occupations whose members are required to assist with expert opinion.

1.4

The APIEx also commits itself to develop courses and relevant training programmes in order to raise the standards of APIEx Members who act as experts in dispute resolution. Through these courses and relevant training programmes, the APIEx seeks to ensure that its members who provide expert testimony, will possess the highest integrity and the appropriate professional standards in order to provide the necessary evidential assistance to a court or tribunal. In consequence, the APIEx aims to help generally raise the standards of expert testimony in Singapore and other jurisdictions throughout the Asia Pacific region.

 1.5
The APIEx aims also to encourage its associate members, who are lawyers, where appropriate, to engage and instruct APIEx Members as experts.

 2. 
Introduction

 2.1

The APIEx Code of Conduct (“Code”) provides APIEx Members with a concise statement of the ethical standards that they are expected to observe at all times. APIEx Members must conduct themselves in accordance with any overriding duty they may owe to the courts or tribunals to which their opinions may be provided. This Code therefore seeks to safeguard the trust, reliability and integrity in the expert evidence process where APIEx’s members are called upon to provide expert evidence. All APIEx Members must conduct themselves in accordance with this Code in their expert witness practice.

 2.2

This Code sets out the key principles that APIEx Members must abide by. Instructing parties who appoint APIEx Members are entitled to trust that APIEx Members adhere to this Code, subject to any other professional or legal obligations they may also need to comply with.

 3.  This Code and other Obligations
 3.1
APIEx Members’ adherence to this Code does not replace or qualify any legislation or rules regulating individual professions or any more extensive rules of conduct which may apply in specific circumstances.

4.
Definition used in this Code
 4.1 APIEx Member – An APIEx Member is one who is an associate member, individual member, provisional member, fellow or honorary fellow of APIEx. 

 4.2

APIEx Committee – The APIEx Committee is defined in clause 8.1 of the APIEx’s Constitution, as may be amended from time to time.

 5.
Diligence and Competence

 5.1

In the context of court or arbitration proceedings, an APIEx Member will often be appointed by a party, a court, or a tribunal. The APIEx Member must apply his or her specialised knowledge in order to assist the dispute resolution process. In order to perform his or her role effectively as an expert, the APIEx Member must:
 
  1. Possess the relevant competency, knowledge, skills, experience and education appropriate to the matters in dispute;
  2. Advise the instructing party promptly if an issue falls outside his or her area of expertise;
  3. Refrain from accepting work that is likely to damage his or her ability to fulfil existing commitments;
  4. Adhere to the appropriate expert witness rules, codes and procedures in the specific court or tribunal in which his or her opinion will be used;
  5. Observe the standards of professional conduct set out in this Code; and
  6. Subscribe to continuing professional development in the field of expert evidence such as relevant training, peer review of expert testimony and appraisal.

 5.2

Subject to section 7.1, APIEx Members should ensure that they have the requisite time, energy and procedural and subject matter expertise to competently meet the reasonable expectations of the instructing party. In addition, APIEx Members should understand and comply with all relevant legislation, procedure rules, practice directions, judicial guidance and case law applicable to their role as an expert.

 6.
 Conflicts, Confidentiality and Impartiality

6.1

APIEx Members should serve the interest of justice and must produce expert evidence in an impartial manner, avoiding bias or prejudice in favour of, or against, any party. To this end, the APIEx Member must:
 
  1. Act reasonably and ethically in identifying and resolving conflicts of interest;
  2. Safeguard confidential information and not seek personal advantage from it;
  3. Conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, both in the course of their expert witness practice and in their dealings with instructing parties, opposing parties and experts and courts, tribunals or other bodies, to which they have provided expert opinion;
  4. Disclose any personal interests which may affect his or her impartiality;
  5. Refrain from offering or accepting gifts, hospitality or services which could create or imply an improper relationship or obligation; and
  6. Ensure that decisions made in relation to professional activities are not influenced inappropriately by any considerations of race, language, religion, age, disability, sexuality or gender of those with whom he or she has dealings.

 7.
Overriding Duty

 7.1

Subject to relevant and applicable laws, APIEx Members may owe an overriding duty to the court or tribunal to which the APIEx Member’s opinions will be provided. The APIEx Member shall ensure that they have familiarised themselves with the scope of that duty in the context of the proceedings in which they will be serving as an expert and shall ensure that they comply with that duty.

 8.
Accountability

 8.1

The APIEx Member must be accountable for his or her actions and must strive for excellence at all times. In addition, the APIEx Member must be accountable for achieving the tasks that he or she has undertaken to deliver.

 9.
Experts’ Conference

 9.1

If an APIEx Member is required in a proceeding to confer with any other expert witness in order to determine areas of agreement and disagreement on material matters for expert opinion, the APIEx Member shall exercise his independent, professional judgment in relation to such a conference and any related joint report, and shall not act on any instruction or request to withhold or avoid agreement.

 10.
Advertisement and Publicity
 10.1
The APIEx Member must not use statements in advertising his or her expertise or services which contain material misrepresentation of fact, or which omit material facts necessary to keep statements from being misleading about expertise or services. 

 11.
APIEx Members’ Continuing Obligations
 11.1 APIEx Members are required to adhere to these principles when they join the APIEx. To this end, the APIEx Member must:
 
  1. Promote the APIEx’s aims and objectives;
  2. Safeguard the APIEx’s professional image and standing as a professional body for expert witnesses;
  3. Refrain from conduct which may adversely affect the APIEx’s reputation, integrity and good standing;
  4. Observe the standard of conduct set out in this Code as it may be amended from time to time; and
  5. Abstain from engaging in unmeritorious conduct that would injure or attempt to injure the professional standing of another expert by engaging in unjustifiable, malicious or reckless complaints, whether directly or at the behest of a third party.

 12.
Professional Conduct Issues and Complaints

 12.1

Information or complaints which are directed to the APIEx’s secretariat suggesting that the conduct of an APIEx Member may be in breach of the provisions of this Code will be reviewed and investigated by the appropriate APIEx sub-committee that has been designated by the APIEx Committee to resolve such matters. If the APIEx sub-committee finds that there is no evidence of a breach, no further action will be taken against the APIEx Member and the complainant and the APIEx Member will be notified accordingly.

 12.2
If the APIEx sub-committee finds that there is a prima facie evidence of a breach, the APIEx sub-committee will present its findings and recommendations to the APIEx Committee. The APIEx Committee will then deliberate on the appropriate outcome which may result in the imposition of one of the following sanctions if the breach is proved:
 
  1. Reprimand or a warning;
  2. Demotion to a lower membership grade;
  3. Suspension of membership; or
  4. Expulsion from membership.

 12.3

The APIEx Committee has wide discretion to decide on the appropriate outcome fitting the circumstances of each case. The APIEx Committee shall decide whether or not to publish a report of any action taken by the APIEx against or in connection with any APIEx Member under section 12.


 

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