If you are involved in a building or construction dispute, where each party has engaged its own expert(s), we can act as an independent expert facilitator for expert conferral processes. This will assist to narrow points of difference on technical issues, helping resolve the dispute more quickly and cost effectively.
The purpose of the facilitation is to provide the experts engaged by the parties with an opportunity to discuss the technical issues which surround a dispute and identify:
- Factual matters on which they agree
- Matters in dispute and the reasons for the disagreement
- Areas of further investigation or additional information required to be able to reach agreement
These conferrals, or expert conferences, are typically directed by a court or tribunal, or at the request of the parties.
Having been involved in many expert conferences as experts in our own right over the past two decades, we’ve often seen experts, including even the most experienced practitioners, struggle to participate and produce useful outputs that assist the dispute resolution process.
As an expert facilitator, we are an independent third party with extensive knowledge of buildings and relevant legislation and vast experience participating in, and chairing, expert conferral meetings. We help experts to follow a structured process and quickly identify the key issues between them and underlying reasons, encouraging debate and consideration of others’ points of view that can assist with concessions being made, where appropriate. This helps narrow the parameters of the technical dispute, assisting parties to resolve disputes more efficiently, or assisting the court or tribunal in its deliberations.
The output of a facilitated joint expert conferral process is a well-structured, easy to follow document that records the meeting, in what is typically called a Joint Expert Report or Joint Witness Statement. The report is signed by all experts and is provided to the parties, court, tribunal or other jurisdiction in the form of expert evidence.
The outcome of a facilitated expert conferral should be a narrowing and clearer understanding on the points of difference between experts on technical matters, assisting the parties to the claim to better assess risk and resolve the dispute without the need for a legal hearing. Alternatively, it should assist the court or tribunal, this being an underlying obligation of an independent expert.