Pulling Together

Article, New Law JournalJune 2017

Legal

Working together makes the expert/instructing solicitor relationship stronger, as James Stanbury explains.

As appeared in New Law Journal, 2 June 2017

By James Stanbury

There is a continuing debate over the type of expert that should be used on a case. For an instructing solicitor, it is clearly important to choose the right expert, who has experience relevant to the case. The question arises, in some cases, whether it is better to appoint an industry expert or a “professional” expert. It can and does happen in my field of forensic accounting. Take, for example, a claim for loss of profit from a fire or flood at a hotel: should a hotel expert, who has worked in the industry, be appointed or a professional accounting expert who has experience of dealing with economic damages claims from hotels over many years?

Of course, expert requirements turn on the facts of a case and the balance of choice can be difficult and opens up the question of ‘what makes someone an expert?’ If industry experts make poor expert witnesses, it is usually a result of their unfamiliarity with their role and duty to the court (and not their instructing party) and a difficulty to translate and apply their experience to the case itself, thinking that experience will trump objective analysis on its own, which can undermine the credibility that their sector experience can bring. In my field, it is relatively rare to find one’s opponent to be an industry expert suggesting that appropriate forensic financial analysis is important whatever the industry.

Read the rest of the article at New Law Journal

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