Expert witness dispute resolution

Our surveyors act as Expert Witnesses for litigation, arbitration, mediation and general dispute cases relating to property and land.

Experts in dispute resolution

What do we do?

We can act for either side of the dispute party or as a ‘Joint Sole’ witness, and will work with you to understand your case before advising the most appropriate path of dispute resolution.

Well-honed negotiation skills and trusted expertise can often avoid the need for expensive arbitration or litigation proceedings and our involvement can help to find common ground that both parties can agree on to reach a resolution.

When disputes do escalate, our impartial knowledge and expertise, combined with a thorough understanding of the legal proceedings we operate in, deliver a fact based report with conclusions that aid the legal process of reaching a satisfactory outcome in dispute resolution.

 

We act and advise on

Building disputes including Party Wall matters & building contract quality

Valuation - commercial and residential, including matrimonial

Professional negligence claims in building matters

Insurance claims

Landlord & tenant issues - rent reviews, lease renewals and service charges

For the best possible outcome:

When it becomes apparent that there is a matter relating to property which is, or is likely to become a dispute it is important to call a surveyor to discuss the options available to you as soon as possible

For guidance on your individual options, please get in touch

CONTACT US

Property dispute FAQs

  • Which dispute resolution method is right for me?

    Courts often expect litigants to have considered alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options before proceeding with court action, and in majority of cases, property disputes can be resolved in this way, making litigation a last resort.

  • What should I do when a dispute regarding a property arises?

    In an ideal world property and boundary disputes would not arise but when they do, it is important to act correctly and as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for all involved. In the first instance you should call a surveyor that is experienced in expert witness cases who will ensure you are aware of all dispute resolution options available to you and advise of potential costs of each to allow you to decide on the best course of action for you. Following an initial conversation, should you decided to progress a dispute resolution case, the more information you can provide in the early stages, the best chance there is of finding the best resolution for all parties involved. With this in mind, you should instruct a solicitor if you have not already done so and gather all documents in your possession that are relevant to the dispute, including title deeds and plans. You should also draft a written brief that clearly outlines the chronology of relevant events and facts surrounding the concern, along with the scope of advice and resolution you are seeking. Remember to include your full contact details and advise of any urgency or deadlines relating to the dispute.

  • If my boundary is agreed to be in relation to a natural object e.g a tree line or hedgerow, does the boundary move as the vegetation grows?

    The short answer is no. A boundary line remains static and is determined by mutual agreement between neighbouring parties, often with the assistance of a chartered surveyor. Should the agreed boundary line require a visible marker, often vegetation such as trees or hedgerows are used. In this case, the party responsible for the marker should ensure the hedge or other natural vegetation is planted a sufficient distance away from the agreed boundary line so not to encroach upon the line as the marker grows. After growth of markers occurs, the boundary line remains as agreed but could now fall in the middle of a hedgerow or tree root if enough consideration wasn’t taken when determining original planting distances from the boundary line.

  • If a branch overhangs my property, can I remove it?

    Yes, if you are certain the offending branch is breaching a determind boundary line you can remove it but please note, in theory you should return the removed article back to the owner of the tree as it still belongs to them. We would always advise discussing your intention to remove any offending article breaching boundary lines with your neighbour before commencing any work.

  • Can the Party Wall Act be used to resolve boundary disputes?

    No. There are no provisions in the act that can be used to resolve boundary disputes. These disputes must be resolved through the courts or by mutual agreement of involved parties through alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation or decision by an independent property expert in arbitration. View our dispute resolution page for more information on these services.

  • When should I consult a surveyor regarding property disputes?

    The short answer is at the earliest possible opportunity after it becomes apparent that there is a matter which is, or is likely to become a dispute. Property disputes can often be stressful for those involved, so seeking professional advice early before issues escalate is always recommended. Early advice can even prevent full blown disputes arising, and can certainly help protect against significant loss of time, money and emotional investment. The earlier disputes or potential disputes are tackled, the more options there may be to find a cost effective resolution. Getting an idea of your legal rights and position, as well as potentially unconsidered avenues of resolution will enable you to make the best decision for your case based on experienced expert advice.

  • What is mediation?

    In the context of dispute, mediation is a voluntary, non-binding method of dispute resolution in which a neutral party, the mediator, who specialises in dispute resolution helps opposing parties to reach a negotiated settlement of a dispute. Unlike court proceedings, the process is more diplomatic and will only ever resolve the dispute if both parties can agree terms that aim to find some common ground for both sides. With this in mind, there are no winners or losers in this type of alternative dispute resolution as both parties are encouraged to find common ground to leave with a settlement that they can both live with. Mediation facilitates negotiation and assist in resolving both parties’ differences. It is not a process that can impose a decision on either party like arbitration or litigation. The process is conducted in private and ‘without prejudice’ which means that any details of discussions cannot be used as evidence before the court except in certain circumstances. Mediation is flexible and informal and courts often expect litigants to have considered alternative dispute resolution such as mediation and arbitration before proceeding with court action.

  • What is Arbitration?

    A process for the resolution of disputes outside of the court system through an arbitral body which means the matter remains private. An arbitrator is an impartial third party professional acting as a judge to determine the outcome of the dispute based on their specific expertise. The arbitrator is appointed by the opposing parties or an appointing body such as a solicitor acting on the parties’ behalf. The arbitrator will hear both sides’ evidence and arguments then make a decision based on their expertise and factual evidence available which both parties will have agreed to be bound by. The object is to provide a fair resolution though an impartial medium, unless otherwise agreed, the decision reached through arbitration is final and binding on both parties.

  • What is litigation?

    Broadly speaking litigation means taking legal action to determine or enforce a party’s rights through High Courts and County Courts to determine the outcome of disputes. In these situations, as surveyors we can be called to act as an expert witnesses to provide impartial evidence based on our subject area knowledge and expertise. We can be appointed jointly by both parties directly or through their solicitors or each party may appoint their own expert witness with the court’s permission. Out report and findings will be used to help the judge make the final award. Litigation is often the most expensive and lengthy route for property disputes.

  • Do I have a choice in dispute resolution methods?

    If you are the aggrieved party seeking to take action then, depending on the nature of the dispute and any prior agreement between the parties involved, you may have a choice as to which dispute resolution route to take. You generally cannot prevent action being taken against you by way of litigation, arbitration or adjudication. Our advice is to contact us as soon as you become aware that a dispute may arise and we will advise you as to which option of dispute resolution is most likely to achieve your aims and objectives based on our extensive experience of over 35 years in the handling of property dispute cases.

Our Team

Malcolm H Kempton

DIP (Est. Man.) FRICS

Chartered Surveyor & RICS Registered Valuer
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Michael W J Carr

BSc FRICS FCIArb MEWI

Chartered Building Surveyor
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Nathan Hall

BSc (Hons) MRICS

Head of General Practice
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