Valuers are periodically instructed by solicitors to provide expert evidence reports in matters which might result in litigation. In many instances the courts are now looking for a single expert to be appointed jointly by the parties so as to avoid the expense and time involved in adversarial evidence (where each party has its own expert). The role of the expert is now clearly to assist the Court and not to be an advocate for a client.
The following three landmark cases:
• Makita (Australia) Pty Ltd v Sprowles
• Sydneywide Distributors Pty Ltd v Red Bull Australia Pty Ltd
• Dasreef Pty Ltd v Hawchar
... all go to the question of admissibility of expert evidence.
Even though these cases did not involve valuers, they are important for valuers, especially those preparing evidence for that may end up in Court.
Experts must be aware of what and where their areas of expertise extend to.
The expert must fully explain the basis of the opinion expressed so the court may undertake its own assessment and form its own opinion.
The governing acts, rules and case law as they currently stand are what admissibility of an expert’s evidence will be judged on. It is important, for a valuer to be aware of the key principles in Makita, Red Bull and Dasreef to ensure that the evidence put forward is based on the expert’s training, study or experience, is relevant, capable of proof, does not involve speculation and is a proper basis for the opinion and how it produces the opinion propounded.