More than two-thirds of respondents surveyed by expert witness consultants Bond Solon said Woolf’s ‘costs of proportionality’ principle – which says an expert witness’ fees cannot be a large proportion of the claim – does not make their fees uneconomical.
The survey was conducted at the annual Expert Witness Conference in which 20% or respondents were forensic accountants.
It also revealed expert witnesses can earn between Pounds 49 and Pounds 350 an hour, with 30% of respondents admitting they earned between Pounds 100 and Pounds 149 an hour. Only 2% of the 139 experts suveyed admitted to earning the premium fee.
Mark Solon of Bond Solon consultancy said: ‘For accountants who are prepared to invest in being properly trained and prepared to be expert witnesses there are lucrative fees to be earned.’
He said accountants looking to become expert witnesses would have to take on a new set of skills. As expert witnesses the could be called in civil cases to testify on the valuation of companies and their shares, and in criminal courts when fraud is being investigated.
According to Solon, accountants wishing to become expert witnesses have to be trained under the Woolf reforms.
He said this suvey was particularly significant because it was an ‘informed snapshot’ showing how the reforms, which were put into place in April 1999, are working.
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