There is a question in quoting for a potential instruction and, from a solicitor’s point of view, in approaching a surveyor and then considering that particular quote, as to whether the valuer has sufficient experience. It is of course a matter for the expert who has been approached to judge whether its experience is sufficient to undertake the potential instruction and the RICS is clear on this point within the relevant Guidance Note. This is very much one of individual discretion for the valuer. Of course, each valuer’s perception of its own experience and its perception of the experience threshold applied will differ.
The first gambit of many barristers while cross-examining an expert witness is to focus on the expert’s experience. This is only natural and right and, of course, the expert’s evidence can be almost completely discredited if the expert’s experience does not stand up to scrutiny. This may be extremely problematic in a Single Joint Expert case whereby the expert’s evidence is key at hearing and in an environment in which the Court would have put significant reliance on the expert evidence such as in valuing a family home asset.
A CV of the expert’s experience should accompany any quote and any expert submission into Court or Tribunal. However, such biographies of experience are often general rather than specific and are unlikely to detail, for example, the number of valuation cases undertaken in a particular postcode relevant to the subject property or, if it is a commercial use, the number of say office units or industrial units in a particular locality that have been valued by the expert.
In an ideal world, the chosen expert in a Single Joint Expert appointment would be the single most qualified individual for the property type and location that is available in the profession. Of course, this is largely impossible to judge and it is usual to advance three experts to a Court in order to make a decision on whom to appoint.
The fundamental point is that expert valuation surveyors should go a little further than simply producing their generic CVs and experience in putting themselves forward for expert appointments and should assist both the Court and solicitors in providing more detail about their specific experience, such as providing a potential list of valuations they have undertaken in a particular postcode over a certain time period.
This firm provides both a general CV and specific valuation experience at quote stage. This should satisfy and assist all parties to any case, including the Court themselves. Of course, if all three approached experts followed suit, then there would be a direct point of correlation in which to judge the experts and their particular experience. This would also largely disarm any potential questions if the matter goes to Court or Tribunal and the expert is subject to cross-examination, as both parties would be fully aware of the expert’s full and relevant experience. Any appointment on a Single Joint Expert basis outside of the Court, which had to be agreed on by both parties, would have been done so in full knowledge of the expert’s experience, which is right and proper.
Furthermore, it may be prudent for solicitors to request in more detail particular valuation expertise relevant to the instruction, which would be provided on top of the usual fee level, CV and availability questions that are asked as standard at quoting stage.