Becoming an expert determiner: the requirements

Parties to a dispute may opt for a less formal approach

Apart from arbitration or litigation, parties to a dispute may opt for a less formal approach and choose expert determination as an alternative.

In expert determination, parties to a dispute agree to engage a third-party independent expert to help resolve a conflict. The advantage of this process over formal litigation is that it is usually quicker, less costly, the process can be flexible and matters remain private.

The expert determiner does not act as a witness. There are similarities between the requirements, with the obvious omission for a determiner of cross-examination experience or formal report writing. The expectation of relevant expertise, experience and verifiable credentials apply in the same way. Certain disputes may require you to have industry-related expertise; others centre on issues that are not sector-specific, where a relatively narrow industry experience may be enough.  

Independence may not be a requirement

The surprising difference between an expert witness and an expert determiner is that the independence of the latter is a requirement only when parties to the dispute state this as such. However, even if complete independence (no past involvement with or associations with either party) is not a must, an expert determiner is expected to be impartial and follow best practice in declaring all current and past associations with either party.

If you want to shape the future by untangling the complexities brought about by the uncertainty of the current post-Brexit trading, rapidly changing legal compliance or industry-specific commercial aspects at the heart of many disputes, consider the role of expert determiner. Take stock of what you can bring to the table in the context of the requirements listed above and consider formal training to increase your chances of a formal appointment.