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The ethics of forensic engineers

by Toby Shnookal

Toby Shnookal & Jim Shaw (2010) V11 No1 Australian Journal of Structural Engineering 23

This paper explores the role of ethics in the work a forensic engineer performs in relation to a project that might progress to a court hearing in which the engineer will give evidence. A forensic engineer should understand that in legal proceedings, the primary obligation owed both ethically and as a matter of law is to the court.

Evidence that is presented that is not in accordance with the obligations set out in the Rules of Court and the binding judgments that comprise the common law is likely to be inadmissible, given no weight and be contrary to an engineer’s ethical obligations. As such evidence is unlikely to be accepted by the court, the expert is also doing his or her client an enormous disservice if he or she departs from these obligations. Flowing from that primary obligation are clear requirements concerning the openness and helpfulness of the evidence the forensic engineer presents.


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