DISPUTE RESOLUTION

EXPERT WITNESS

In contentious Construction Litigation and Arbitration, Expert Witnesses are employed to assist the Court or Arbitrator with matters that fall outside the Tribunal’s area of professional expertise.

The Expert Witness provides the Judge or Arbitrator with opinion evidence based on his or her particular expertise and experience in his or her chosen area of professional practice and must be wholly independent of the Parties and impartial in the matter in dispute. An Expert Witness has no financial or other interest in the outcome of the dispute despite being retained by one of the Parties to give evidence and gives his or her honestly held opinion based on his or her appreciation and understanding of the facts and issues in dispute. Thus, the Expert’s duty is to the Tribunal and not to his or her Client.

Not all experts prove to be good expert witnesses as some can break down under cross-examination. A good Expert Witness will not only possess the qualities of an expert but who will prove to be an expert communicator, whose judgment is sound and who is comfortable with his or her report and testimony and who can deliver a wholly objective opinion that will be fully supported and which will be of assistance to the Court or Tribunal. In circumstances where new information comes to light then the Expert Witness will need to be able to deal with these changing circumstances and respond appropriately.

Appointments to act as an Independent Expert Witness are made by Solicitors and the costs involved represent part of the Legal Costs of any proceedings however, despite this, the payment terms and conditions of appointment are normally agreed with the Client directly.

Karl Slyne is a member of the Panel of Expert Witnesses for Construction Related Disputes. Karl’s expertise in report writing and in providing oral evidence in Court Proceedings has been developed over years and has been recognised by Main Contractors, Sub-Contractors and Construction Lawyers alike as being of a very high quality.

Karl has been appointed by Construction Lawyers – Solicitors in Litigation and pending Litigation and by Construction Employers in Arbitration.

Karl has given Expert evidence in Arbitral proceedings where he has been subjected to cross-examination by Senior Counsel. Karl has been involved in several high profile cases where the Court Proceedings or Arbitral Proceedings were settled either immediately prior to him taking the stand or during the course of his expert testimony.

This experience of acting in the capacity of Independent Expert Witness in Construction Disputes in the past makes Karl a most suitable candidate to fulfill this role in the future.
When acting as expert witness, Karl employs the highest standards of professional ethics and integrity and abides by the Code of Practice for Expert Witnesses laid down by the RICS.


CONCILIATION

Conciliation is a confidential process that is similar to Mediation wherein the Parties appoint an independent and impartial third Party (The Conciliator) who seeks to facilitate a settlement between the Parties through the skillful identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the Parties respective positions. A good Conciliator will be professionally qualified person with a breadth and depth of experience and will have a proper understanding of the technical, contractual, commercial and legal issues at play in any dispute.

He or she will be an expert communicator and capable of exploring potential solutions to the dispute. In Construction Conciliations it is usual to have plenary sessions wherein both Parties present their argument before the Conciliator and the other Party usually without interruption but this depends on the style adopted by the Conciliator who is master of the procedure.

In addition, the Conciliator will have private caucus meetings with each Party in separate rooms where he or she will test the Party’s argument in private and endeavor to lower tensions and expectations. If the difference between the Parties respective positions is not too great then a negotiated settlement may be achievable, which will become final and binding upon the Parties. If a settlement is not possible, then the proceedings will be adjourned and the Conciliator will retire to make his recommendation to the Parties.
The recommendation will be in a written format and if not dissented from by either Party within a specified period of time, normally 10 working days then the recommendation becomes final and binding.

Conciliation is widely employed In the Irish Construction Industry with all Standard Forms of Contract requiring the Parties to endeavor to resolve their differences through dialogue with the assistance of an Expert.

Under the Public Works Forms of Contract, Conciliation adopts a two stage approach. The first stage is identical to traditional Conciliation wherein the Conciliator explores ways of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement between the Parties. If this fails, then the Conciliator is obligated to issue a written recommendation based upon the rights and obligations of the Parties under the Contract. If this recommendation is not rejected within 45 calendar days then it becomes binding upon the Parties. This second stage is more akin to adjudication and differs from the Conciliation Procedures adopted by the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland and Engineer’s Ireland wherein the Conciliator may elect to recommend a sum of money that he or she considers is appropriate in all the circumstances and which the Parties can live with.

Karl Slyne has considerable expertise and experience working in the Construction Industry and in particular in the ADR sector. This expertise has been acknowledged by both Clients and Construction Lawyers alike and in this regard Karl possesses numerous complimentary Client references for his work.

Karl has considerable expertise and experience working in Construction Conciliation in Ireland on Building Projects. Karl has acted as Conciliator as well as working on behalf of clients engaged in the Conciliation process.

This expertise and experience is hugely beneficial and re-assuring to prospective Clients who will be engaging in Conciliation in an effort to resolve its dispute. In addition, Karl has considerable expertise in legal writing and in drafting Conciliation Settlement Agreements.

Karl has in depth experience of Construction Conciliation in Ireland and has been involved in complex Building Conciliations in recent years, all of which have resulted in positive outcomes for Clients.

Karl has prepared detailed submissions for Conciliation and has also acted as an advocate in Conciliation. He has also drafted settlement agreements for the Parties in a number of Conciliations that have been approved by the Parties and Co-signed by the Conciliator.


EXPERT DETERMINATION

Expert determination is a confidential form of dispute resolution whereby the Parties agree to the appointment of an independent and impartial Expert who has specific expertise and experience in the subject matter in dispute. The Parties usually agree to be bound by the expert’s decision. The process is normally conducted by way of written pleadings or submissions only and it is usually reserved for the more technically complex disagreements and / or disputes.

The process is thus, quicker and cheaper than other forms of dispute resolution and it is usual for the period in which the expert determination is to be delivered to the Parties to be specified by the Parties. The process is regulated by the agreement of the Parties.

Karl Slyne is widely regarded for his knowledge, skill and expertise in matters ADR and in Construction Claims. This expertise has been acquired over 17 years of working in the Construction Industry and is acknowledged by Clients and Construction Lawyers alike and when brought to bear upon a contractual disagreement, difference or dispute has resulted in positive outcomes for Clients in the past.

Karl’s expertise and experience in Building, Civil Engineering and Construction Law makes him an ideal person to act as in the capacity of chosen Independent Expert to determine matters of contention between Parties.

Karl has acted in the capacity of Independent Expert Witness in complex construction disputes having being appointed by Solicitors in Litigation and pending Litigation and also by Construction Employers, Liquidators and Contractors in Arbitration and thus, is well placed to fulfill the role of independent Expert to determine or adjudicate upon Construction Industry disputes.

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