Advocates Publications

3PB Publications

A Guide to Selecting and Using an Expert Witness in Construction Claims

3PB construction barrister James Davison – together with Anne Wright of Lawrence Stephens – has re-published a guide to selecting and using an expert witness in construction claims. The guide “To be or not to be an expert witness”, which was originally published in Construction Law, provides practical guidance on selecting an expert witness, and advises witnesses how to behave once appointed.

‘The expert witness’s primary duty is to help the court and this duty overrides any duty which experts may have to those who are instructing or paying them’ (see the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) r 35.3 – ‘An Expert’s Duties’). The expert witness is not the decision maker – the role is to provide information to assist a third party – judge, arbitrator, and adjudicator – to decide a case before them. The danger of conflating the two roles has been well aired in case law. Similarly, case law on what constitutes expert evidence and what does not, and commentary on where expert evidence has gone awry, is rather too plentiful.

This excellent guide gives some background on the use of experts in construction, and provides practical pointers to both the appointment of an expert and to the expert, once retained.

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3PB's Nick Kaplan reviews the decision in Grove Developments: for the Adjudication Society in an article called "Unloosening or tightening the Construction Act’s Gordian Knot?"

In Grove Developments, two of the construction world’s most esteemed Judges have, in their departing decisions before moving on to pastures new, now attempted to unloosen the Gordian Knot created by the amended Construction Act and Edwards-Stuart J’s decision in ISG.

This article seeks to assess the degree to which the decisions in Grove have unloosened that knot, or merely entangled us in other, related, difficulties. Further, it looks briefly at the recent decision of Stuart-Smith J in Davenport Builders which may, to mix my classical metaphors, indicate a way to chart a course between the Scylla of ISG and the Charybdis of Grove.

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