Alabama Expert Testimony Rule Changes

Alabama legislators are considering a piece of legislation (Senate Bill 187) proposed by Republican Senators Ben Brooks and Cam Ward that seeks to modify the rules that permit expert witnesses to testify during civil and criminal trials.  For decades, courts in Alabama have used a set of rules known as the Frye test to determine when an expert witness is allowed to testify in court and on what issues. This rule requires that expert testimony with regard to scientific techniques or tests must be based on principles sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs.

Although this approach to expert testimony has long been used in Alabama courts, some other states and the Federal court system use a different test, known as the Daubert test. The current legislative proposal seeksto adopt this Federal test.

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