An expert witness is someone who makes his/her knowledge and experience available to the court. He can be appointed by one of the parties or act as a single joint expert. Either way his first duty is to the court.
Duties of a construction expert witness
- The primary duty of any expert witness is to the court.
- An expert witness must deliver an honest opinion on all relevant matters on which he is required to opine.
- An expert witness has a duty of care to his client but must not allow himself to be influenced by pressure from the client.
- An expert witness’ duties include advising of any conclusions which might be contrary to the views held by the client.
- Under no circumstances can the expert witness accept any remuneration conditional upon the outcome of a case.
- An expert witness must be prepared to meet any expert appointed by the other party in order to agree matters on which the experts are in agreement.
- The duties and responsibilities of an expert witness are the same whether they are given orally in a court of law or in the form of a written report. Expert testimony and reports must include a declaration stating that all relevant matters have been covered and that he has given his technical reasoning and honest opinion to such matters.
Requirements of an expert witness
An expert witness must appear in court or at arbitral hearings, as required, to give an expert opinion. His manner must be assertive but not deliberately confrontational. He must be sure of his facts and have the ability to defend them under cross-examination.
It is essential that he is able to explain his findings in a clear and easily understood manner, displaying a full understanding of the matter and confidence in the conclusions reached. Reports must be of a high quality with a clarity that can be readily understood by the layman, whether or not the reports are to subsequently form part of a court hearing. They should cover all relevant points concisely without any surplus of irrelevant information.
Information must be delivered in a logical manner to the reader or those sitting in judgement. It must be apparent that all matters under review are well understood. It must also be obvious that the opinions expressed are sound, having been reached as result of a thorough investigation of each of the relevant points both individually and as a whole. Whenever necessary, written text must be supported by explanatory charts or photographs.
A Highly Experienced Expert Witness
Keith McMillan, is the principal expert at McMillan Associates. In addition to serving as an expert witness he has given evidence at various levels of the courts as well as at UK and bi-lingual international arbitration hearings and tribunals. He was one of the first professionals to be accredited as an adjudicator.
As a Chartered Construction Manager with over 40 years of experience, he is ideally qualified to serve as an expert witness in construction related disputes. His opinions are based on years of practical experience, not just academic theory.
His career has taken him from the construction site to the boardroom, adding business acumen to his extensive technical qualifications. His sphere of knowledge encompasses most areas of the construction and infrastructure industries, allowing him to take a pragmatic view of the matters in dispute. Keith is as at ease leading a group of international experts as he is supervising a construction site or heading a major commercial department.
It is this breadth of experience that provides him with the knowledge and understanding of the complexities and pressures of the wider construction industry which so often leads to disputes. This gives him the authority to serve as an expert witness. He is clear thinking, objective and always willing to undertake forensic research in order to develop a true understanding of the facts. By doing so clients can rest assured that the full merits of their position will be presented in a strong unswerving manner.
Keith is a registered Expert Witness with The UK Register of Expert Witnesses.
Where the dispute rests on very specialist technical matters McMillan Associates is able to put forward experts of similar standing, with the requisite specialist technical knowledge.