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Coronavirus and the expert witness: valuation instructions

Jul 6, 2020, 12:28 PM
Family lawyers across the country are grappling with the impacts of the Covid-19 on the process of executing and managing family cases.
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Date : Jul 5, 2020, 23:00 PM
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Chris Walklett, FCA

Family lawyers across the country are grappling with the impacts of the Covid-19 on the process of executing and managing family cases. Hand in hand with the health impacts of Covid-19 has been the stark economic consequences, both immediate and those that are forecast; and with it three reference points for forensic business valuations have been thrown into chaos. Forget what you might have known about earnings, multiples and asset valuations.

Instructing solicitors will have to consider not only the impact on their clients, but on how they instruct expert witnesses, and indeed who they instruct. The complexities of valuation have just increased exponentially. Rules of thumb dangerous, and assumptions that all valuations will now automatically be lower, equally misguided.

The role of the expert witness is to assist the Court with an area outside of its expertise. Never have the Courts been faced with a more challengingly subjective area of technical endeavour. Likewise the experts, upon whom the Courts rely. The bar will be raised in terms of the standard of expert witness work – a standard valuation approach will not cut the mustard in these challenging times, and the ramifications of getting this wrong are stark for all concerned.

 


The full article will be published in the July issue of Family Law

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