In construction industry disputes it is common for experts to be appointed by solicitors to help the parties and their representatives reach a compromise agreement or, assist a judge, adjudicator or arbitrator in arriving at a judgement or decision.
An expert must follow relevant guidelines published by the court or professional body. A Chartered Surveyor must follow the RICS Practice Statement and Guidance Note entitled “Surveyors Acting As Expert Witnesses”.
Surveyors at ramskill martin know that when appointed as expert witness, there is an overriding duty to assist a tribunal and provide an opinion that is independent and does not promote the point of view of the instructing party. The position of the surveyor is different when acting as expert advisor when the appointment is often less formal.
Ramskill martin has experience in acting as Expert Advisor and Expert Witness. Members of its team have prepared reports and given evidence in the Technology and Construction Court and also in arbitration and adjudication. More often, however, its surveyors have worked with solicitors in the early stages of a dispute to give a view on quantum and time issues so that escalation of the dispute is avoided. Ramskill martin’s surveyors have also prepared reports and advice for use in mediation.
Often a situation will arise in which a party and its representative may want advice from an expert before any formal dispute has arisen. Advice may be required on the strengths and weaknesses of the position of either party. Disputes in the construction industry are usually about money at the end of the day and Quantity Surveyors are well placed to give such expert advice. If such advice is sought at an early stage this can often lead to a negotiated settlement.
It may be that what is required is a formal appointment under the Civil Procedure Rules, part 35. The appointment might be acting on behalf of either party or alternatively the appointment might be as single joint expert. Members of the team at ramskill martin have experience in either role and have received instructions from major firms of solicitors with large departments specialising in construction and also from smaller firms of solicitors with general litigation experience. Our team understands the duties and obligations introduced by the Court Procedure Rules, Practice Directions and the various protocols and guidance.
Experience of Ramskill Martin when acting as Expert Advisor or Expert Witness
Ramskill martin has experience of the following in disputes concerning the valuation of work, delay, loss and/or expense, negligence and interpretation of documents such as standard forms of contract, bills of quantities, schedules of work and contract sum analyses.
- Advising solicitors/clients before any formal dispute resolution process has commenced
- Preparing advice at the pre-action protocol stage
- Assisting in defining and agreeing issues between the parties
- Assisting in the evaluation of the merits of a case
- Assisting with quantifying or assessing the amount of any sum in dispute
- Assisting with identifying the appropriate basis on which a case might be settled early and fairly
- Preparation of Expert Witness Reports and advice
- Dealing with written questions
- Acting as single joint expert
- Acting as expert appointed by either party
- Attending at without prejudice meetings of experts
- Giving evidence in the Technology and Construction Court and in arbitration and adjudication