Expert Witnesses in Building Disputes (What Is Their Role?)
If you have an unresolved building dispute and it has reached the NCAT you will need to provide evidence to support your case. An expert witness can help strengthen a legal argument to help the court to come up with a resolution.
Here are three scenarios where an expert witness is needed:
- A breach of contract lawsuit that involves construction cost and performance.
- A construction accident leading to a wrongful death claim.
- An appeal for a permit denial.
Roles and responsibilities of an expert witness
- The expert witness assists the court by relaying factual opinion based on his experience and expertise.
- The expert witness gives an accurate report with conclusions on technical issues that can aid in the legal process after examining the conflict and inspecting the building.
- An expert witness has an overriding duty to provide independent, impartial, and unbiased evidence to the court or tribunal.
- The expert witness is not bound to the party that sought his opinion. His duty to his client is to carry out his inspection and analysis with utmost care and to provide opinion evidence that is soundly based.
What’s in a Building Expert Witness Report?
Aside from relevant data such as tests and investigation reports including cost estimates a Building Expert Witness Report should adhere to the following:
- Expert witness reports must comply with Civil Procedure Rules
- The report should not be influenced by the party who appointed or paid the expert witness to give evidence
- Expert witnesses are discouraged from receiving payments to influence the evidence contingent on the outcome of the case.
- An expert witness should provide a well drafted and unbiased report that states the facts and must not omit data that is relevant to the expert’s conclusion.