Dispute Resolution and Expert Reports

dispute resolution and expert reports

Expert reports, in respect of property and construction, are usually instructed for two main reasons: to help resolve disputes, and to aid in the decision-making process for legal or commercial matters such as property transactions. 

In the case of a dispute having arisen, disputing parties and the Courts often rely on expert reports to provide specialised knowledge and insight, helping to clarify complex issues, refute erroneous claims, and guide the parties and/or the court towards an equitable resolution.   Expert Witnesses, armed with their professional qualifications and extensive experience, are ideally positioned to fulfil this crucial role. 

Expert reports provide impartial expert advice on the matters in dispute.  The expert will review data and information, inspect the property in question and undertake their own investigations.  They express their professional opinion concerning the matters in dispute by drawing on personal knowledge and expertise.

Where the report includes an element of valuation, the surveyor undertaking the report will always be an RICS Registered Valuer.

Expert reports can be instructed by “single joint appointment” (so one surveyor is instructed by both disputing parties) or they can be instructed by just one party as a “sole appointment”.  Depending on the nature of the matter, a single joint report can be a good option as not only can it reduce fees, but potentially timescales too.  Further, the risk of conflicting views between experts is reduced; it is completely unbiased and communication is transparent between the parties.  Parties and their solicitors must carefully choose their expert witnesses, whether single joint or sole appointment, to ensure they have sufficient experience and knowledge in the relevant fields.

In the case of boundary determinations, where the single joint appointed surveyor determines the exact location of a disputed boundary, the parties must agree to be bound by the surveyor’s decision.  The expert produces a report and draws a plan of the determined boundary, which is submitted to the Land Registry by the parties’ solicitors. 

If you are involved in a property or construction dispute, or matters look like they could be turning contentious, we are always happy to discuss your options and what help and guidance we can provide.  We provide a range of Alternative Dispute Resolution services, including mediation, arbitration, and adjudication.

We have a large team of extremely experienced Chartered Surveyors across the South West who are able to provide expert reports and advice on a variety of matters including, but not limited to:

  • Professional negligence
  • Development disputes
  • Neighbourly matters such as boundary and building disputes and the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
  • Construction disputes including building fabric defects and contract disputes
  • Service charges disputes
  • Rent reviews, end of lease liabilities, lease renewals and valuation disputes
  • Lease extensions and freehold enfranchisement

Please contact our Dispute Resolution team.

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