RISA Expert Witness Service: Frequently asked questions

RISA Expert Witness Service: Frequently asked questions

 

Lee Galley RISA Assessor Manager

Our RISA expert today: Lee Galley

As each RISA assessor is responsible for managing their own region of the country, Assessor Manager Lee Galley finds himself covering an area he describes as "absolutely everywhere".

Lee ensures the RISA team of assessors applies the same standards and delivers the same high level of service all across the regions, and he brings more than thirty years of experience in the window and door industry to the role.

More recently he underwent training to become a RICS accredited Expert Witness and played a central role in the launch of RISA's new Expert Witness Service for domestic window and door installations. Homeowners and installation companies often ask us about our expert witnesses and what they do, so we asked Lee to respond to some common questions.

How long has RISA been running its Expert Witness service?

We launched our Expert Witness service at the start of 2020. The demand over the past 12 months has been unprecedented and we have since had to double our capacity.

What qualifications do you need to have to be an Expert Witness?

Experts need to prove their expertise in any given field in order for their reports to be accepted by the Courts. This is generally in the form of verifiable experience in senior positions within that specialism.

It is also desirable to gain accreditation as an expert from a recognised professional body. RISA Expert Witnesses for example are accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  

Is it all glamourous court appearances just like we see on TV shows?

Unfortunately not! Although an expert witness needs to be prepared to attend court and trained to do so, it is very rare for it to reach that stage.

Expert witness reports are produced to aid people’s understanding of the technical aspects of a case so if produced correctly they need no further input or cross examination of the expert.

Who are your typical customers? Is it mostly homeowners?

No, it is more common for us to be instructed on behalf of an installation company. This is generally in response to legal action commenced by their customer who will often be claiming a sum in excess of the original contract value plus costs.

They may well have had a report from a general practitioner Chartered Surveyor without any specialist knowledge and who has condemned the installation unduly.

We are re-instructed quite often as a single joint expert, where both parties agree to the appointment and a single report is produced for the court, this can be the most cost effective way of settling a dispute.

What’s the typical process for each case?

Generally we will be contacted by one party or by their legal representatives and in the first instance asked if the case is within our scope of expertise. If it is we will provide a costing for the services required before moving on to the inspection of the installation and writing the report.

If the report is for a single joint expert case then both parties are given the opportunity to submit written questions to the expert before the report is finalised. Where there is an opposing expert acting for the other party in a case then generally the court will order that the two experts meet and try to narrow the area of dispute before issuing a joint statement for the court to consider.

How long does it take?

Most inspections are completed within a single day and the associated report will be completed within one week depending upon the scope of our instructions and the complexity of the case.

It is beholden upon any expert to state whether they can comply with the required timeline before they accept an instruction.

Do your Expert Witness reports usually mean that going to court isn’t necessary?

Typically yes, our report will narrow the issues, detail the actions necessary to fix any defects and provide costings for doing so. Often this is enough for the parties in a dispute to reach agreement before the case comes to court. Particularly when costs that often outweigh the amounts disputed are taken into consideration.

If you would like more information about RISA’s Expert Witness service or to request a written report you can email us at expertwitness@risaltd.co.uk and or use the contact form at the bottom of our website.

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