An accountant expert witness should be a member of two professions: a qualified accountant with a heap of relevant experience, and someone who has taken the trouble to gain qualifications and experience as an expert witness. Chris is a long-qualified chartered accountant, and one of the first to be accredited as a forensic accountant by ICAEW and as an expert witness by The Academy of Experts. And he has given expert evidence before many forums over 100 times during the last 30 years. The witness box is no threat to him!
As a mediator, he is accredited by The Academy of Experts and by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
He specialises in the following fields:
- Forensic accountancy
- Expert witness
- Expert determination
For more details see the formal CV below.
Here is Chris’s personal statement:
I’m middle-aged (but certainly not old!), and have had a varied and satisfying career. I have a lot of experience to share, and with which to help others.
All the cases I deal with involve people who need help because they are in dispute with others. So at its basic level, I keep going because I know I have a lot to offer, and because I like helping people.
As a forensic accountant I have very wide experience, and I have run and built businesses myself. So I truly understand the sorts of business problems, which my clients often face.
Previously having worked as a partner in national firms, but now working entirely alone, my fee rates are more modest but my experience is equally good.
I have appeared as an expert witness, in many forums from judges in chambers through County Court and High Court to Arbitrations and Public Enquiries, over 100 times in total, so the witness box does not cause me any discomfort. I have “hot-tubbing” experience.
As an accountant mediator, I am often chosen for company, partnership and business disputes, but I also act as a mediator in many other kinds of disputes: boundary, rights of way, defamation, professional negligence etc.
I have also served on committees at The Institute Of Chartered Accountants In England and Wales (ICAEW) and The Academy of Experts, and as a confidential counsellor for ICAEW.
For more details see the formal CV below.
I started my career in Leeds, becoming manager and then junior partner at a small firm, Charles F Beer & Co. Both partners left to take up positions in industry, and passed the firm to me.
From 1973 to 1987 I grew the practice, and by 1987 I employed 18 including 3 qualified managers, and had increased the fee income to £234,000 (about £0.8million in today’s money). During that time I acted for up to 500 clients per annum, ranging from tax return clients up to about 100 fast-growing family companies and two PLCs.
In 1987 I merged the firm with a West Yorkshire practice, Revell Ward, and became managing partner of the Leeds office, which grew to 4 partners and 25 staff. I had started doing litigation work by then, including giving evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice, and in 1988 I was instructed by Walker Morris to assist in the defence on criminal charges of the chairman of Barlow Clowes, a huge job where I had to respond to vast quantities of evidence served by the Serious Fraud Office.
I led a team of 6 investigators for 8 months, and my report ran to 43 ring binders. The prosecution agreed the report, and my client achieved ‘Not Guilty’ verdicts on all charges.
During those 8 months of intense activity my practice had to be taken over by other partners, and when it came to an end I had absolutely nothing to do. So I decided to develop a practice as a forensic accountant and expert witness, one of the first in the area. Again I built a team, this time of 7 forensic accountants, and I have spent all my professional life since then in litigation and dispute resolution.
In 1997 Revell Ward merged into the national firm of Neville Russell, which became the international firm of Mazars Neville Russell, latterly Mazars. My team and I grew unhappy in the enlarged firm (by 1998 I had 250 partners, most of them French!) so we left to found the Leeds office of Bentley Jennison.
We started with a team of 7, and me as managing partner. We grew that office to 84 by the time I stood down as managing partner to become national head of litigation.
I retired at age 60 as a partner in Bentley Jennison in 2003, but they didn’t want me to leave, so I continued as a full-time consultant in litigation, finally leaving in March 2006.
At the same time I started my own practice, in litigation, mediation and various consultancy assignments, working from home and from Gray’s Inn Square in London.
I have spent far too much time with lawyers and in courtrooms; there had to be a better way of resolving disputes.
In 1998 I qualified as a mediator, and now have a regular flow of mediation work, where I derive enormous satisfaction from helping people to resolve their disputes without the worry and expense of going to court. But the forensic accountancy and expert determination work continues to pile in…
Out of about 100 mediations to date, the settlement rate is 80%. Expert determination too is an important part of my practice.
In my career I have not only learned how to build my own business (a practice substantially increased and 3 practices built from scratch) but I have learned a very great deal about business, about company law, and about people in business and the dynamics of partnerships and family companies.
For more details see formal CV below.