Richard Formby considers the pros and cons of using single experts on quantum matters and asks whether appetite for their use with injury claims will increase
The single joint expert (SJE) is not new. Lord Woolf introduced the concept some 20 years ago but it has not proved particularly popular. However, given the continual pressures on costs and efficiency, particularly in the injury litigation landscape, I can see the renewed attraction that the SJE may have to the courts. But what are the problems and can the single expert be made to work?
In his final ‘Access to Justice’ report (1996), Lord Woolf acknowledged that there was such a considerable strength of opposition to his proposal for the use of SJEs that it was not realistic to expect a significant shift towards single experts in the short term. Instead, he concluded that the parties and procedural judges should always consider whether a single expert could be appointed in a particular case (this led to Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 35.7).
In terms of injury litigation and the use of single experts for loss quantum, my experience has been that things haven’t really shifted since then. I have seen little appetite (from either side) for accountancy expert evidence in injury claims to be given other than by way of the party expert.
In contrast, I have found the use of SJE accountancy evidence reasonably common in family nance proceedings, where my experience suggests it works reasonably well. This is probably because the parties are dealing with a nite ‘financial pot’ and typically the issue being addressed is narrowly de ned (e.g. the value of a business interest and/or scope for raising additional funds)….
First published in the Solicitors Journal