Expert accountants are not always instructed in isolation. We often play an important role in liaising with other experts in many types of case, including commercial disputes, personal injury claims, matrimonial cases, employment disputes and fraud cases. Certain types of expert such as medical experts will inform the assumptions on which, for example, a claimant’s loss of earnings computation in a personal injury case will be based, and others will provide factual input such as valuations of particular types of business property or background to a specific business sector.
Experts in other disciplines and other professionals with whom we have worked include:
- Specialist surveyors in respect of valuations of businesses in which there can be a significant property element, such as care homes, hotels and restaurants, our involvement with such professionals often relating to providing them with estimates of the adjusted maintainable profits of the relevant business;
- VAT experts in relation to the VAT aspects of complex frauds;
- Insurance companies and independent financial advisers in relation to the value of a claimant’s prospective and actual pension funds and likely annual pensions under “defined benefit” pension schemes at retirement age;
- The business accountants of an optician’s practice who provided profit and cash flow forecasts to enable us to value the business in a shareholders’ dispute;
- Employment consultants in respect of prospective and actual career paths in personal injury cases and employment disputes, particularly in relation to current salary levels for specific roles, rates of change in salaries, the most likely ages at which the claimant would have been promoted and would have retired had the event which caused the claim not taken place compared with the claimant’s current likely career path and retirement age;
- Medical experts in relation to such matters as the assumed duration of a claimant’s period of incapacity, the type of work which the claimant could carry out or the hours which he or she could work after the injury which was the subject of the claim and/or the extent of any reduction in the claimant’s life expectancy;
- Specialist sector valuers, for example in relation to the valuation of a winery in South Africa as a key matrimonial asset and in respect of the extent to which it had surplus assets such as cash which could fund the divorce settlement;
- Psychiatric experts, for example in relation to a miscarriage of justice case in which their input informed our assumptions about the detrimental effects on the claimant’s condition and his future earning capacity of his having spent longer in prison than was warranted;
- The Society of West End Theatres in relation to a personal injury claim by a leading stage actor in which the likely success of a play in which he was engaged to appear was in issue;
- Residential and commercial estate agents in respect of property valuations in divorce cases;
- Experts in the pharmaceutical sector who provided input on the European pharmaceuticals market in a loss of profits case involving the “parallel importing” of prescription drugs; and
- An expert in raspberry cultivation who provided data on crop yields and their implications for achievable turnover in a professional negligence case brought by a grower who supplied fruit to supermarket chains.
It is important to ensure that all relevant experts are “on the same page” so that the assumptions used by experts in one field are consistent with the assumptions and findings of other relevant experts. This is best achieved by ensuring initially that the experts are aware of each other’s work, and it may be useful in complex cases to hold conferences with Counsel at a relatively early stage and certainly before the experts’ reports are finalised for disclosure.
The information contained in our Newsletters is provided as general information only. It does not constitute professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. In addition, since the Newsletters were published in recent years, the information contained in them may not be applicable at the current time.