Alex French Associates
Alex French Associates Alex French Associates Architectural Animation 01

Alex French Associates Services


What is an Expert Witness?

An Expert Witness is a practitioner of skill and competence in a particular trade or profession. An Expert Witness must be observant, logical and analytical, and must be able to clearly identify and seek out any problems. In the Expert Witness report, the facts, analysis, conclusions and opinions should be clearly expressed, so that they can be understood by non-technical persons.

What an Expert Witness can offer

In the context of construction litigation an Expert Witness can provide:

  • A definition of technical problems
  • Ordering of the facts
  • Explanation of possible consequences
  • Identification of relationships to other matters
  • Clear opinion based on reasons.

The Expert should be able to explain the significance of a fault. The most obvious significance is cost; other important aspects are safety and reliability. A fault in one part of a building’s construction may have an impact on other areas. The Expert should highlight these and advise if opinion should be sought from other areas. The Expert Witness and the Solicitor

Before an Expert is appointed it is likely that the work of the Solicitor has already started. The solicitor should have arrived at some preliminary conclusions about the points of law that require to be proved and upon which an Expert opinion is sought. The Solicitor should explain to the Expert exactly what points of law are being contemplated and what they mean. So that the Expert can develop a full picture of all relevant matters, all related correspondence, specifications, instructions to the contractor and drawings should be passed to the Expert. The Work of the Expert Witness

On your behalf, the Expert Witness should:

  • Define and catalogue defects, faults and failures
  • Establish the facts
  • Explain how any defects and failures arose
  • Express opinions related to defects and analysis

The basis of an Expert Witness report is to catalogue the defects, faults and failures. In expressing an opinion the Expert must be able to justify it on the basis of his investigations, facts and analysis. Understanding the Expert’s Report

The Expert’s report will contain standard sections covering a summary of instructions received, the Expert’s qualifications and experience, reference material used, details of site visits and interviews. These sections should establish the context of the report, the credentials of the Expert and the history of his work on the case.

The schedule of defects will outline the defects considered, how they were discovered and why they are stated to be defects. The schedule should be based upon substantiated facts and the date that a defect became apparent should be noted for the purposes of prescription. Each defect should be related to standards acceptable at the time of design or construction. The opinions stated by the Expert should be clear and related to the facts.

Shortening the Legal Proceedings

It is possible for an Expert to help shorten the legal proceedings in a case by:

  • Having regular meetings to agree the facts
  • Negotiating to resolve technical matters

The subjects of dispute can be made up of many small details. To use Court time to establish these details is time consuming and expensive. Regular meetings can potentially offer agreement on technical facts and, if not actually produce a resolution, may reduce the volume of material to be introduced as proof.

Technical breaches in a contract are often ones that both parties are willing to resolve. Where remedial works need to be carried out the Expert should be able to define what these works are and develop a scheme to implement them.

The Role of the Expert Witness in Court

The role of the Expert is to guide the Court in technical matters from the information made available by his Client and his own researches. An Expert is obliged to research and, while not arriving at a judgement, arrive at some conclusion.

If you require the services of an Expert Witness, please call AFA and we will be happy to provide you with professional and confidential advice.


 26 Augusta Road, Penarth, CF64 5RJ | t: 029 2035 0395 | e:
 © 2010-13 Alex French Associates Ltd. All rights reserved. Company Registered in England & Wales. Company No. 7256625
Regulated by RICS