In this decision, an application to the court was made requesting use of expert evidence to determine a claim against a QS who had been providing dispute resolution services. The services had been provided in connection with a final account dispute arising out of a domestic building project. The defendants, Sands, advised the claimants, Wattret both prior to and throughout the ensuing arbitration. Wattret subsequently claimed damages against Sands on the basis of a number of failings. Sands applied for expert evidence to be adduced from a QS with dispute resolution expertise.
The judge noted that expert evidence is not required in negligence cases where the answer is obvious, but that in the present case, where it was necessary to judge Sands by the standard of a reasonably competent QS providing dispute resolution services, rather than by the standard of a competent construction solicitor, the answers were likely to differ from those that would apply to a legal practitioner.
The court therefore agreed to allow expert evidence, limited to a list of specific issues to be provided by the Defendant. The claimants complained, for example, that they were not advised concerning ATE insurance, which would be regarded as negligent on the part of a legal practitioner, but may prove not to be by reference to the standards by which a QS is to be judged.
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