Is it Possible for an Expert Not to be Biased?

Many argue that the Daubert reliability test is important because expert witness testimony is uniquely vulnerable to bias. Those in this camp argue expert witnesses differ from lay witnesses, because experts are retained to advance the cause of one party in an adversarial proceeding.

Courts have consistently reiterated than expert witness’ duty is not the retaining party, but to the court and finder of fact. See Kirk v. Raymark Industries, 61 F.3d 147 (“Experts are not agents of the party hiring them.”) However, some argue that even if experts are not “consciously” biased, they are “unconsciously biased.” As stated by Judge George Jessel: “There is a natural bias to do something serviceable for those who employ you and adequately remunerate you.”

However, even if the expert is biased, does this translate into unreliable testimony? After all, both sides have their own “unconsciously biased” experts (if not consciously biased). Many would argue that the Daubert reliability test will not prevent biased experts from testifying.