Shareholder and other valuation disputes
Vero Consulting provides expert and authoritative analysis and opinion on the financial, economic, accounting, fiscal and monetary aspects of disputes and investigations.
Shareholder and other valuation disputes
Financial investigations and regulatory services
Financial aspects of separation and divorce
Dispute resolution for post-deal purchase price adjustments
Introduction to our expert team:
Charles has over 35 years experience with leading London-based financial consultancies. He has analysed and reported on the financial position of a wide range of businesses in many challenging situations.
Roger Lustig is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (1981) and a member of the Academy of Experts (2000).
Charles was always a thoughtful and inspriring contributor to our work. His experience and perspective from many years of working with people around the globe helped him to contribute perspective and wisdom for us all. It has been a real delight to come to know him and be able to call him friend and colleague.
Charles and I worked together as volunteers running the Harvard Business School alumni group in London and also the HBS Global leadership Forum (in 2005). He was wonderful to work with and I would recommend him without reservation for any endeavour.
Charles achieves outstanding results for his clients and has an enviable reputation as an expert in his fields of excellence. A true team player who provides high quality professional advice to corporate clients and other professionals.
Lawyer Monthly’s latest edition with the Expert Witness 2019 Awards is now available here.
My expertise is set out in full on page 26.
If you would like a pdf with my expert witness experience for future reference please send me an email.
13 June 2019
I am thrilled to announce that I was nominated, voted on and won Expert Witness Awards in two categories by Lawyer Monthly: Chartered Accountancy and Fraud Accountancy.
These Awards recognise the success that I and my firm have achieved since we established this specialist forensic firm in 2016.
Every case requires a tailored approach to deal with its own uniqueness. I am pleased that these Awards recognise the passion that my team and I apply in resolving each case. We present often complex financial issues in a clear, authoritative and comprehensive way that assists the parties, courts, tribunals and arbitrators.
Further details about my firm’s services may be found here.
Details of Lawyer Monthly’s point-based evaluation system, which is based on twelve parameters to ensure fairness and accuracy, are set out here. Lawyer Monthly will be publishing an Awards edition shortly.
5 June 2019
If there was any doubt, the first London International Disputes Week 2019 (#LIDW2019) certainly demonstrated why London is the premier centre for major dispute resolution by showcasing the impressive range of legal and support skills available here.
My own professional interest as a frequent expert witness on damages was particularly drawn to Mr Justice Roth’s keynote address in the final session of the week on Competition Disputes. Competition cases require extensive use of expert evidence and Mr Justice Roth’s address set out the tools and sanctions on experts in recent cases such as the three interchange disputes, BCMR, PayTV v Sky Sports and Britned disputes.
Mr Justice Roth, a Justice in the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales and President of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal described the framework that has evolved in England for securing impartial expert witness evidence, starting from the principles which Mr Justice Cresswell had laid down in his judgment in The Ikarian Reefer ( 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 68 shipping case.
He mentioned the increasingly common practice of instructing experts to meet before they prepare their first reports to agree the scope and thus avoid addressing irrelevant issues. He went on to describe how useful the tribunal recently found asking experts to present a “teach-in” at an early stage of the hearing in Britned Development Ltd v ABB  EWHC 2616 (Ch). This practice will become even more important as Judges conduct more concurrent expert evidence (better known as “hot-tubbing”) sessions, a process he recognised created much more work for Judges but did shortened the overall hearing.
At this point it is worth quoting from The Honourable Mr Justice Marcus Smith’s Judgment following the costs hearing in the Britned case, where he observed that:
“the interchange between the experts and the battle between their different approaches, I found (as I hope the Judgment makes clear) incredibly useful. I do not consider that I would have been able to reach so clear a conclusion regarding Mr Biro’s approach had I not had the benefit of understanding why Dr Jenkins’ approach was flawed. The manner in which the experts’ views were tested in the crucible of cross-examination was very helpful indeed.”
In Mr Justice Roth’s view these developments, when combined with the courts willingness to criticise experts in their public judgments (as demonstrated above) and, in extreme cases to report them to their professional body, are a sufficient threat to ensure that experts present evidence impartially.
He also mentioned developments in tailored proportional disclosure rather than simply mechanically applying standard disclosure, which include using Redfern Schedules and Scott Schedules, such as in the air cargo anticompetition case. He also referred to new ways of assessing aggregate damages and their distribution in collective actions, which shows how London’s courts are responding to the changing nature of large-scale litigation.
Mr Justice Roth closed by suggesting these strengths means that Brexit will not make London any less attractive as a place for settling major international disputes, in spite of attempts by other countries to attract business by setting up English speaking courts.
Having acted as an expert since before the Woolf reforms in 1999, I have seen these rules gradually develop thanks to various working parties and committees of practitioners. I share Mr Justice Roth’s opinion that London has a comprehensive set of tools designed to ensure that courts and tribunals can rely on robust and impartial expert evidence.
31 May 2019
Readers will not need reminding that an expert’s duty is to help the court on matters within their expertise and this duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom experts have received instructions or by whom they are paid (CPR 35.3 and CrPR 33.2). As one would expect, the expert is required to approach their work with total independence (PD35 2.1).
This requirement was brought into question at the trial of a Mr Mick Wills at Wellingborough Magistrates Court last year. Having been accused of illegally hunting a fox with dogs, the expert evidence for the prosecution was provided by Professor Stephen Harris, a self-described vulpophile and one of Britain’s leading authorities on foxes and a longstanding opponent of fox hunting. It was reported to the Judge that a prosecution witness had kissed the expert witness when they met just before court. When challenged, Professor Harris’s explanation for this behaviour was that he merely knew the lady and had not seen her in 20 years!
On being informed of this incident, Judge Daber took a rather stern view of this incident, concluding that: “If a relationship exists between a proposed expert and the party calling that expert which a reasonable observer might think is evidence of bias, then he must be excluded on the grounds of public policy. Justice must be seen to be done.”
The judge’s response to this rather unusual event should reminds experts and those appointing them to take great care to avoid even the appearance of being too close.
Those promoting the inquisitorial system’s approach to expert witness will say this case reinforces their argument that experts should always be appointed by courts or tribunals.
From my own experience of long and complex court and arbitration hearings, experts are often required to attend many days of evidence and to work extremely closely with those appointing them and their legal team in order to share their opinions on a broad range of evidence within their expertise. One consequence of such a close working relationship is that an outside observer could interpreted the familiarity between the expert witness and those appointing them as implying bias. Indeed I have seen expert evidence dismissed by an arbitrator merely because the witness entered, sat with and left with the legal team each day. To the tribunal the expert witness appeared to be a member of the legal team and so an advocate for their client’s case.
In order to avoid even the appearance of bias the cautious expert should remain slightly aloof from the party that appointed them. This could include even entering the tribunal room separately and throughout the hearings sitting slightly apart from the party that appointed them. Perhaps they should even go as far as to stay in different hotels and have their meals separately? All this should be designed to reassure the tribunal that the expert was approaching the work and evidence with total impartiality.
If readers have come across other examples of expert evidence being excluded for small indiscretions, and how this appearance of bias can be avoided, I would like to hear about them and the consequences for the case. Please drop me a line. I look forward to hearing from you.
27 May 2019