Expert Determination is a common form of dispute resolution for post-deal purchase price adjustments and offers benefits over litigation and arbitration: it is quicker, costs less and generally provides certainty. The parties agree to submit their dispute or unresolved issue to an expert to make a determination on the matter. The determination is binding, unless the parties agreed otherwise.
The process usually takes weeks rather than months or years, which leads to lower costs and quickens the process of resolution. It is especially useful for disputes involving valuations or purely technical issues.
Case law suggests that the courts and arbitrators will not generally question the opinion of an expert, which provides greater certainty.
Where there is an on-going relationships between the parties, an arbitration or litigation process can seriously damage the relationship between the parties. In contrast, an expert determination distances the decision from the parties and allows them to continue with their business relationship or collaboration.
The parties can agree some relatively simple procedural steps, timeframes are compact, there is little paperwork, there is less need for detailed investigation of documents or cross-examination of witnesses. Often there is no oral evidence or hearings at all.
Expert determination does not suit all disputes but, taking into consideration that most contentious situations are driven by parties’ wishes to reach incompatible results, it is surprising how many situations can be resolved in this way.
The team are experienced in acting as independent experts to resolve transaction disputes through the determination process and apply this expertise when preparing written submissions, reviewing the other party’s submissions and responding to information requests from the independent expert.
Charles performs expert determinations by private appointment. He is also on the panel for prestigious appointments made by the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
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