With property litigation on the rise, Chartered Surveyors are often called as expert witnesses to provide in-depth commentary and advise on a wide range of contentious property and construction issues. Alasdair Morrison, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) with independent local estate agents and surveyors Alasdair Morrison and Partners, gives an insight into this professional role.

Alasdair explains:

"An expert witness is a person engaged to give an opinion based on experience, knowledge, expertise and evidence on matters which fall within their specific area of expertise.

"The overriding duty of an expert witness is to provide independent, impartial and unbiased evidence to the Court or other tribunal."

The areas that an Expert Property Witness can be asked to comment on can often be quite varied, says Alasdair:

"Disputes can very between civil issues and commercial ones. Some common civil disputes include: neighbour disputes involving boundaries or land ownership, or cover the relation of boundary markings, such as fences.

"Commercial disputes sometimes involve service charges or dilapidation to commercial premises or rent reviews.

"Expert property witnesses must have required skills and competencies, plus experience of wide range of possible property and construction disputes, that allows them to provide an honest, professional determination that ultimately can be relied upon in a court of law.

"As a RICS Accredited Expert Witness, I also adhere to strict rules of conduct so both the solicitor and their client can rely on my honest professional opinion at all times."

Alasdair comments:

"Since qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1982, I have experienced a wide range of property, land and construction matters, as well as building up key skills in mediation and arbitration.

"This knowledge allows me to provide professional and experienced Expert Witness services help to solicitors and their clients to resolve property disputes as quickly and inexpensively as possible."

www.amorrison.co.uk