The case of Ramlochan v. Ramlochan provides an interesting discussion about expert’s opinions and the need for an expert to go beyond merely providing a conclusion. The husband’s income was at issue in the case — the amount of his income would determine the amount of support to be paid. The husband hired an expert, who was to provide an opinion of his income based on her investigation of his financial dealings with two privately held companies that he owned. The expert filed a report, and without providing any explanation, gave the opinion that his income was $200,000.00 per year.
Corbett, J. refused to accept the expert’s opinion. He held:
The court will not accept an expert’s opinion solely on the basis of the expert’s “authoritative claim”. That is, it is not sufficient for an expert to show that (a) she is an expert; (b) she has looked into a matter; (c) she has reached a conclusion; and (d) therefore the court should accept her conclusion. Rather, the expert should explain her assumptions, describe the material evidence and observations upon which the expert relies, describe the analysis and reasoning the expert has used to reach her conclusion, set out her conclusion, including any limitations or qualifications to that conclusion. The opinion is not just the “bottom-line” conclusion, but the entire intellectual exercise of assumptions, evidence, analysis, reasoning, conclusions and limitations and qualifications of that conclusion. It is then possible for the court to understand and apply the expert’s opinion on the basis of the facts, as found by the court, and to weigh competing opinions on contested issues.
Corbett, J. concluded that the husband’s income for the purpose of support was $557,000.00 per year.