Tip 2 – Consider using a forensic accountant in an advisory capacity, as an Expert Adviser rather than as an Expert Witness

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Using an accountant experienced in Litigation Support to address complex earnings, business profits and related losses can help the busy PI solicitor achieve the ‘best outcome’ for a client that has suffered such injury related losses. 

I have written a short ‘Five Top Tips” guide for the effective use of Forensic Accountancy input on such claims – and my second Top Tip from this guide is:-


Tip 2 - Consider whether you might be better off using a forensic accountant in an advisory capacity, so as an Expert Adviser (outside of CPR Part 35) rather than as an Expert Witness 


This approach can work particularly well with a salaried Claimant that has a more complex claim (perhaps a need to illustrate alternatives career paths, pension losses or various employment benefits e.g. share options). Using an Expert Adviser can also be of help when quantifying lost profits of business related (Director/Shareholder) Claimants – where there is typically a mix of salary and company profits drawn as dividends.

“White Labelling” services (as they are sometimes called) enabling complicated earnings, profits and pension loss calculations to be insertion into the Schedule of Loss can sometimes just make life easier- leaving the solicitor to focus on medical evidence, procedure and even the law.

 

I am seeing an increasing number of cases where technical input from an accountant is needed (to establish the scale of losses, illustrate the financial data pointing to a financial loss or simply set out complex financial calculations in a suitable format) but the Court has not given, nor is not expected to give, permission for such Expert Evidence.

The answer to this problem can be to instruct the accountant as an adviser (so outside of CPR Part 35) and treat them, for costs purposes, as the solicitor’s agent. The resultant agent’s costs may be claimed as an alternative to the time the solicitor, or counsel, would otherwise have spent addressing the complex earning, profit and business related losses. I have seen, where appropriate, an uplift on such costs claimed by the solicitor.


So by using an accountancy adviser (outside of CPR Part 35) the solicitor can:-

  • Access specialist technical help with steering a path through tricky financial aspects of a claim;
  • Pass over responsibility for complex quantum calculations, financial analysis or the presentation of key financial trends (helping better illustrate a loss, perhaps);
  • Deploy a degree of risk management with regards tricky financial and tax aspects of loss quantum;
  • And even perhaps gain support with managing that ‘awkward’ client

 

 


Next time...

Tip 3: Consider use of preliminary quantum advice


Did you miss the first tip? ...

 Tip 1 on managing the claimant and their expectations? 


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