This article first appeared in the winter 2004 issue of the Expert Witness.
The National Association of Forensic Economics (NAFE, nafe.net) has members – including Economica – across the United States and internationally. It publishes the Journal of Forensic Economics which contains articles of interest to economists, accountants, finance and business professionals, vocational counselors, lawyers, and actuaries engaged in such fields as business valuation, commercial litigation, employment litigation, and personal injury and wrongful death torts.
NAFE also sponsors programs at regional and national economic conferences and has its own Winter and International meetings. Additionally, members communicate via an internet mailing list and quarterly newsletters.
As a condition of membership, members pledge to adhere to NAFE’s Statement of Ethical Principles and Principles of Professional Practice. We reproduce the statement below.
When providing expert opinion for use as evidence by the trier of fact, a NAFE member pledges, as a condition of membership, adherence to the following:
Practitioners of forensic economics should decline involvement in any litigation when they are asked to assume invalid representations of fact or alter their methodologies without foundation or compelling analytical reason.
Practitioners of forensic economics should not accept contingency fee arrangements, or fee amounts associated with the size of a court award or out-of-court settlement.
Practitioners of forensic economics should employ generally accepted and/or theoretically sound economic methodologies based on reliable economic data. Practitioners of forensic economics should attempt to provide accurate, fair and reasonable expert opinions, recognizing that it is not the responsibility of the practitioner to verify the accuracy or completeness of the case-specific information that has been provided.
Practitioners of forensic economics should stand ready to provide sufficient detail to allow replication of all numerical calculations, with reasonable effort, by other competent forensic economics experts, and be prepared to provide sufficient disclosure of sources of information and assumptions underpinning their opinions to make them understandable to others.
While it is recognized that practitioners of forensic economics may be given a different assignment when engaged on behalf of the plaintiff than when engaged on behalf of the defense, for any given assignment, the basic assumptions, sources, and methods should not change regardless of the party who engages the expert to perform the assignment. There should be no change in methodology for purposes of favoring any party’s claim. This requirement of consistency is not meant to preclude methodological changes as new knowledge evolves, nor is it meant to preclude performing requested calculations based upon a hypothetical – as long as its hypothetical nature is clearly disclosed in the expert’s report and testimony.
Practitioners of forensic economics should strive to maintain a current knowledge base of their discipline.
Open, uninhibited discussion is a desired educational feature of academic and professional forensic economic conferences. Therefore, to preserve and protect the educational environment, practitioners of forensic economics will refrain from the citation of oral remarks made in an educational environment, without permission from the speaker.
Practitioners of forensic economics are encouraged to make known the existence of, and their adherence to, these principles to those retaining them to perform economic analyses and to other participants in litigation. In addition, it is appropriate for practitioners of forensic economics to offer criticisms of breaches of these principles.