• Michael Forbes, President

Expressions of Interest for Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony class



Dear Members,


NSWAFI has secured the IAAI to come out and teach its Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony (EWCT) course for the first time in Australia. This course is a requirement to become a Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) if you have not given testimony in court before. This course has been on my wish list since I became president nearly 6 years ago. It has been difficult to establish a course in Australia because the course is designed for the American legal system, and trying to create this course for the Australian legal system that has been approved by the IAAI has been difficult. But now the incoming president of the IAAI, Rick Jones, has agreed to come to Australia in October to create a class for Australia based on our legal system.


The EWCT class walks you through what it’s like to testify as an expert witness in a real case. During the class you will spend time with actual lawyers giving your evidence, preparing for your testimony, as well as spending the day in a courtroom where you will take the stand for direct examination and cross examination.


If you have never been called upon as an expert witness, this class will give you the opportunity to better understand the monumental task of preparing for court and then experience testifying in a real courtroom environment with actual prosecutors.


The classroom portion of the course covers the legal system, court rules, and case law, qualifying as an expert and standing by your Curriculum Vitae, and how to write and present your opinion analysis. The court preparation portion covers The Practical Exercise, Court Exhibits; how to present and what should be included; Presentation of Evidence; Best Practices; and working with a Barrister.


The course will go for 3 days. There are a number of prerequisites which include:

  • A minimum of 4 years full time or 5 years part time of general experience in the fire investigation industry.

  • A minimum of 7 fire scenes that you were the lead Origin and Cause Investigator.

  • Able to meet the requirements of the IAAI-CFI application except for the expert witness testimony requirement


CFITrainer.net Module Prerequisites:

  • The Scientific Method for Fire and Explosion Investigation

  • Effective Investigation and Testimony.


The course requires more than 40 hours of preliminary case work, for which you have six weeks to prepare and submit. Students will be required to update (or create) their Curriculum Vitae (CV), prepare an opinion analysis and court testimony plan, and create two courtroom exhibits. You will receive your pre-course work six weeks before the course date. The class size will be set at a maximum of 10. NSWAFI is now calling for expressions of interest from members who are interested in attending. This EOI will also be sent to QAFI, VAFI and NZAFI. If we get more than 10 people applying then it may be possible to conduct a second course back to back from the first course. If this is the case the first course will be Mon 19/10 till Wed 21/10. The second course will be Thur 22/10 till Sat 24/10. Both courses will be held at the Forensic Medicine and Coroners Court complex at Lidcombe.The cost of the course is not known at this stage. Once costings have been made by the IAAI we will have a better idea, but it is anticipated that the cost will be between $500-700AUD.


Please email president@nswafi.com.au to confirm your interest.

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