Back to Burgess: The Impact of the White Burgess Expert Evidence Regime in Alberta Decisions

  • Lisa A. Silver


The law on the admissibility of expert evidence was refined in the Supreme Court of Canada’s White Burgess decision. While still retaining the Mohan criteria, the Supreme Court further defined the trial judge as an agent of change through an enhanced gatekeeper function. However, all stakeholders in the justice system have a gatekeeper function and must work together when determining the use to be made of evidence. Through surveying Alberta cases involving expert evidence, the author identifies areas where lower courts are applying the new approach and where they do not fully embrace the new approach, but revert back to the traditional Mohan criteria. The author discusses notable themes from recent case law to identify potential future issues involving expert evidence. Although slowly, Alberta courts are applying the new regime, and the focus and direction of expert evidence continue to develop.