The Expert Witness in Adjudication
When introduced in 1998, adjudication was intended to be a quick and cheap method of dispute resolution to help cash strapped contractors and subcontractors avoid insolvency. Since then, because domestic adjudication is the subject of a good deal of case law, the process has become increasingly legalistic and its popularity has led to more complex disputes being referred than was probably ever envisaged when the process was conceived by Latham.
Adjudication is now used not only for straightforward disputes but for some that are technically complex and which often cannot be resolved within the prescribed twenty eight day period. Despite critics asserting that adjudication is not a suitable forum for the resolution of complex disputes and in particular professional negligence cases, many such cases are being referred.
Technical expert witnesses are used in order to demystify complex issues for both those instructing them and to explain those issues to the tribunal, be it a judge, arbitrator(s) or an adjudicator. Although such instructions have become almost universal in court and arbitration cases, the use of experts has not always been the norm in adjudication and the question arises as to whether experts are required at all and if they are, whether the role is different to that in arbitration and litigation…