Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2003


Jurors, Expert testimony, Expert witnesses, Expert credibility, Civil trials, Juror understanding of expert evidence, Jury comprehension


Evidence | Litigation


Jurors are laypersons with no specific expert knowledge, yet they are routinely placed in situations in which they need to critically evaluate complex expert testimony. This paper examines jurors' reactions to experts who testify in civil trials and the factors jurors identify as important to expert credibility. Based on in-depth qualitative analysis of interviews with 55 jurors in 7 civil trials, we develop a comprehensive model of the key factors jurors incorporate into the process of evaluating expert witnesses and their testimony. Contrary to the frequent criticism that jurors primarily evaluate expert evidence in terms of its subjective characteristics, the results of our study indicate that jurors consider both the messenger and the message in the course of evaluating the expert's credibility.

Publication Citation

Published in: Law and Social Inquiry, vol. 28, no. 2 (Spring 2003).