EXPERT WITNESS

It is unfortunate but sometimes relationships between companies deteriorate until one or other of the parties feel they have to go to Court to resolve disputes. Commercial issues are often solved by Arbitration Courts which, while following the legal system in the host country, are organised at an international level. Chemical Associates have been asked to act as one of the Expert Witnesses in a two recent disputes between blue chip suppliers and users of chemical formulations, that it was alleged “did not meet requirements”. Expert Witnesses are appointed and employed by one or both of the parties to the dispute, to give an independent opinion of the technical issues in the case. Although they are employed by one or both of the parties, their prime legal responsibility is to give the Court unbiased and independent technical advice.

Chemical Associates have been involved in two cases. One involved a flooring contractor who complained that our client’s methacrylate flooring compound, failed to cure properly. The second involved an adhesive manufacturer who complained that our client’s polymer latex had caused their adhesive formulation to fail (separate out) during storage.

In both cases it was necessary for Chemical Associates to familiarise ourselves with the client’s products. Complete transparency was required and was obtained. This required some tact, for while I was familiar with the basic science underpinning the technology, I needed to work closely with scientists who had worked on these systems for many years and whose knowledge of their products far exceeded my own. Obtaining technical details of the alleged failures from the customers was naturally more difficult but was required by the Court. This information enabled us to write our technical assessment of both complaints, which could be compared to the complainants Expert Report.

In the first case the judge asked the two Expert Witnesses to review the evidence together and just summarised the points over which they disagreed. This highlighted the issues in dispute and saved a lot of time. The Court Case took 2 weeks. One day was dedicated to the submissions of the Expert witnesses who were questioned by the two Barristers in front of the Judge. After some deliberation, the Judge decided in favour of my client.

In the second case the two Expert Witnesses submitted their respective reports. The two parties are currently exploring whether they can agree a compromise settlement and avoid expensive Court costs.

Our knowledge of polymerisation processes, the formulation and behaviour of dispersions and of surface chemistry enables us to provide our clients and the Court the independent technical opinion they required.

 

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