Part 3: Reports by Experts for the Lands Tribunal

This paper (Part 3 of three) recommends an approach based on initial reports from experts to advocates 1 that are sufficiently comprehensive to allow them to be adapted as Reports for the Lands Tribunal.  It includes a suggested framework and a commentary.  The first paper highlighted the need for clear understanding between the expert and the advocate.  The second part explained the sequence of events and presentation of such evidence including Reports on Facts and Expert Reports.  It also addressed some general points on procedure and presentation. 

The suggested framework

The suggested framework for the initial report from the expert to the advocate comprises four sections:

Procedural Matters

This section should include:

The Expert’s Opinions
Unless otherwise directed, this section should include:

The Relevant Facts

This section should include:

Material intended for the advocate only

This section should include:

Commentary

The second part of these three papers explained how and why the experts’ Reports on Facts were required to be lodged and exchanged before the Expert Reports.  But when the expert is preparing the initial report, The Expert’s Opinions and The Relevant Facts usually should be compiled at the same time. In this commentary the latter is considered before the former so as to reflect the procedural sequence of lodgement of Reports with the Tribunal.

In the section on Procedural Matters:

In regard to the Report on Facts:

In regard to the Expert Report:

In regard to the section on Material intended for the advocate only:

Conclusions

In cases in the Lands Tribunal the expert evidence often is central to the ultimate issue.  The first paper considered the process and presentation of such evidence.  Advocates must recognise that, when dealing with such evidence, a great deal of preparation is required and clear understanding between expert and advocate is essential. 

A comprehensive initial report3  will help advocates to develop and maintain an informed view; to prepare the ground for a critical appraisal of the evidence adduced by the opposing party; to take appropriate steps to resolve the dispute; and, failing that, to present the case to the Tribunal. 

The framework is shaped so that, modified as appropriate and excluding material intended to advise the advocate only, the elements of the report may be readily adapted, as the case develops, to provide reports for the Tribunal. 
Feedback from the advocate to the expert on its contents should improve the presentation of reports for the Tribunal by encouraging re-examination of areas where the advocate suggests clarification or additional material is required.

  1. The term “advocate” is intended to include the person presenting the case and any instructing solicitor.
  2. RICS Commercial Property Journal Sept - Oct 2009
  3. The contents of these papers are also part of a series of articles in Folio – the Northern Ireland Conveyancing and Land Law Journal.