Article 7. Opinions & Expert Testimony

701. Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses

If the witness is not testifying as an expert, the witness's testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is limited to those opinions or inferences which are (a) rationally based on the perception of the witness and (b) helpful to a clear understanding of the witness's testimony or the determination of a fact in issue.


702. Testimony by Experts

(a) If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.

(b) In addition to the requirements in section (a), expert testimony based on a scientific theory, principle, methodology, or procedure is admissible only if:

(1) The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

(2) The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

(3) The witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.

The provisions of this section (b) shall apply to all civil state–court actions commenced on or after January 1, 2012. In criminal actions, this section shall apply only to nonjuvenile felony proceedings in which the defendant was arrested on the charge or charges that are the subject of the proceedings on or after January 1, 2012. The provisions of this section (b) shall not apply to domestic–relations cases, child–support cases, juvenile cases, or cases in the probate court. Even, however, in the cases and proceedings in which this section (b) does apply, expert testimony relating to DNA analysis shall continue to be admissible under Ala. Code 1975, § 36–18–30.

(c) Nothing in this rule is intended to modify, supersede, or amend any provisions of the Alabama Medical Liability Act of 1987 or the Alabama Medical Liability Act of 1996 or any judicial interpretation of those acts.

703. Bases of Opinion Testimony by Experts

The facts or data in the particular case upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing.

704. Opinion on Ultimate Issue

Testimony in the form of an opinion or inference otherwise admissible is to be excluded if it embraces an ultimate issue to be decided by the trier of fact.

705. Disclosure of Facts or Data Underlying Expert Opinion

The expert may testify in terms of opinion or inference and give reasons therefor without first testifying to the underlying facts or data, unless the court requires otherwise. The expert may in any event be required to disclose the underlying facts or data on cross–examination.

706. Court Appointed Experts

(a) Appointment. The court may on its own motion or on the motion of any party enter an order to show cause why expert witnesses should not be appointed, and may request the parties to submit nominations. The court may appoint any expert witnesses agreed upon by the parties, and may appoint expert witnesses of its own selection. An expert witness shall not be appointed by the court unless the witness consents to act. A witness so appointed shall be informed of the witness's duties by the court in writing, a copy of which shall be filed with the clerk, or at a conference in which the parties shall have opportunity to participate. A witness so appointed shall advise the parties of the witness's findings, if any; the witness's deposition may be taken by any party; and the witness may be called to testify by the court or any party. The witness shall be subject to cross–examination by each party, including a party calling the witness.

(b) Compensation. Expert witnesses so appointed are entitled to reasonable compensation in whatever sum the court may allow. Except as otherwise provided by law, the court shall order that the compensation be paid by the parties in such a proportion as the court may direct, to be paid at such a time as the court directs, and the costs as so ordered may be charged in the same manner as other costs.

(c) Disclosure of appointment. The fact that the court has appointed a particular expert witness will not be disclosed to the jury.

(d) Parties' experts of own selection. Nothing in this rule limits the parties in calling expert witnesses of their own selection.


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