Finding the vital F.E.W (Forensic Expert Witness)

Commercial disputes happen. The maritime world is no exception. In fact, for many a level of ongoing litigation, mediation and arbitration is an inevitable biproduct of being in business. A problem exacerbated by these tough times when those either side of a deal can be quick to reach for the contract. Objective expertise is rightly prized as parties attempt to build or defend a position. Finding that ‘spot on’ Forensic Expert Witness is a challenge.

In complex, technical cases the required knowledge can’t always be found in one individual. That means finding a trusted team. Now the best in the business aren’t sitting idly by awaiting their number to be called. They’re busy, practising their skills. Senior players often have a portfolio career, only taking the gigs that pique their interest. In contrast, to the F.E.W, you’ll find many happy to badge themselves experts, turn their hand to the topic and prepared to take their chances in the witness box if the rates are attractive enough. That’s not helpful and makes the search trickier.

Houlder solves this. Working with law firms and their clients brought three factors to the fore. Get these right and you have a valued service:

Find the right person

Remember this is the most crucial aspect. The forensic expert witness should be a master of the subject, a competent report writer and a credible presenter. At Houlder, we have a strong in-house team and an extensive associate network. Our expert specialisms include offshore drilling, electrical, naval architecture, marine engineering, mechanical engineering and structural engineering. Trusted associates cover topics including quantum and delay, tribology, fire investigation, welding, and heavy-lift. There is no substitute to using highly capable technical experts with decades of experience in their field.

Provide good value

Cases typically present experts with a volume and complexity challenge. Masses of material to get through, sift and order. Complex technical arguments to work through and then present in lay terms.

Use the premium people for what they and they alone can do. Augment their efforts with bright, less expensive resource to help get through the bulk. Don’t plough fields with a Derby winner.

Be easy to work with

Julian Mason, Project Director, Houlder, comments: “Having the right experts to call on can be the difference between winning, reaching a decent settlement and losing. Our specialist engineers provide independent insight in the technical and operational aspects of contractual wrangles, yard disputes and accident investigations. They ensure credible, reliable and insightful reports backed by solid calculations and practical tests.

Erik Ter Brake, Principal Consultant, Houlder, adds: “Houlder has been providing forensic expert witnesses for over twenty years. Our experts are trained for cross examination in court to ensure clients are receiving the best possible support.”

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“Charting a ‘solo’ course through this swirl of uncertainty is close to impossible. That’s why we’re often asked by clients to build their knowledge, evaluate their challenges and assess their options. We work closely with research funds and clean-tech providers by bringing decades of industry experience to bear. Our position is independent, technical ‘client friend’ for the decarbonising decades ahead.”

Rupert Hare, Chief Executive Officer

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