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Important changes impact all who perform 'expert witness' role
  • Jul 3, 2019
  • Latest News

One of the less well-known but potentially one of the most-influential members of the commercial property and construction worlds is the expert witness.

In fact, it's a role that I very often use as an example when people ask me to explain some of what chartered surveyors do – just to highlight how varied and interesting the profession can be.

Expert witnesses play a central role in the judicial process, by communicating information about the expert's specialist area to a court, and surveyors act as expert witnesses in a wide range of court cases.

This could be in a case relating to a dispute over the value of a property, or one in relation to a problem with the construction of a building, or a myriad of other things.

They could provide evidence that fundamentally influences the outcomes of very important court cases.

The court needs the evidence of the expert witness to understand something about the specialist area – for instance construction of a particular kind of building - in order to connect properly to the issues at the heart of a dispute and deliver an informed decision.

An expert will know lots more about a specific subject than most people, including many of their peers. They will almost certainly know more than the judge hearing the case in court does.

Susan Mason is head of RICS in Northern Ireland