Expert Witness

In the realm of building and boundary disputes, expert witnesses wield a unique blend of expertise in construction, property law, and dispute resolution.

Expert Witness services for the South West

As part of a dispute that has progressed to court, an expert witness is instructed by one or both parties and will provide their professional opinion on the matter in dispute. They must be qualified to give such an opinion, such as having extensive experience in the matter and a suitable level of specialist expertise, as well as being willing to attend court to take questions from the other party’s legal team. 

Litigation Expert Witness - Vickery Holman

An expert witness’s duty is primarily to the court, rather than to the party paying or instructing them; their report is used by the judge to help them make their determination. They must be impartial and form their opinion given all the evidence available. In the case of building or boundary disputes, the expert witness is likely to be a building surveyor; other matters may require a valuation surveyor, quantity surveyor, or engineer for example. They will generally visit the property(ies) in question to inspect and gather evidence to produce their report. 

We work with many local and national law firms to provide expert witness services covering many disputes including boundaries, rights of access, trespass, defective building works, and building disrepair. Within Vickery Holman, we also have expert witnesses covering landlord and tenant disputes, valuation matters, development sites, and property management disputes. 

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Litigation Case Studies

Expert Witness FAQs

An expert witness is a qualified professional with specialised knowledge and experience in a particular field who provides impartial expert opinions and testimony in legal proceedings. Expert witnesses offer technical expertise, assess evidence, and provide objective opinions to assist courts in reaching well-informed decisions. 

Expert witnesses in construction and property disputes often have qualifications such as Batchelors or Masters in building surveying, engineering or architecture. They may also hold memberships in relevant professional bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), or the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

Expert witnesses can assist with a wide range of disputes, including defects in construction work, boundary disputes, property damage, building regulations or compliance, construction contracts, and property valuations. 

The process typically involves identifying the need for expert testimony, selecting an appropriate expert witness with relevant expertise and experience, providing them with relevant information and evidence, and instructing to prepare expert reports and provide testimony as required. Expert witnesses can be instructed as a sole expert, instructed by one party to a dispute, or a single joint expert that is instructed by both parties. Expert witnesses are typically instructed by a party’s solicitor but can be instructed by the party(ies) direct.

Expert witnesses conduct thorough investigations, review relevant documentation, inspect the property or construction site, and analyse technical data to assess the facts and circumstances of the case. They then formulate expert opinions based on their analysis and professional judgment. 

In ADR processes, expert witnesses can assist parties in reaching negotiated settlements by providing objective analysis, identifying areas of agreement and disagreement, and offering expert opinions to facilitate resolution without the need for formal litigation. 


The testimony of an expert witness carries significant weight in legal proceedings, as courts rely on their specialised knowledge and professional expertise to evaluate evidence, assess liability, and make well-informed decisions. Expert witnesses can help clarify complex technical issues, refute erroneous claims, and provide the court with valuable insights to assist in reaching a fair and just resolution.

Expert witnesses are bound by ethical principles, including objectivity, independence, impartiality, and honesty. These are detailed in Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules and the rules of conduct of the professional body of which the expert is a member, such as the RICS, RIBA or IStructE. They must provide accurate and reliable testimony based on the available evidence and their professional expertise, while avoiding conflicts of interest or bias.

Parties should carefully consider the qualifications, experience, and track record of potential expert witnesses, ensuring they have relevant expertise in the specific issues at hand. They may also seek recommendations from legal professionals, review past testimony and publications, and conduct interviews or consultations before making a decision. 

Hiring an expert witness can provide parties with access to specialised knowledge, technical expertise, and professional insight to support their case. Expert witnesses can help clarify complex issues, strengthen arguments, and increase the likelihood of achieving a reasonable outcome in legal proceedings. 

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