Chris Makin’s Recent Blog Posts

The worst expert witness: and the winner is…

Posted on 7th June 2019 by Chris Makin

A couple of years ago, I had the doubtful privilege of giving a blatant example of the “expert” who failed in every respect.  The case was Van Oord Ltd & Anr -v- Allseas UK Ltd [2015] EWHC 3074 (TCC), where Mr Justice Coulson took pains to explain the twelve – yes, twelve! – respects in […]

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Musings of a Modest Mediator

Posted on 22nd May 2019 by Chris Makin

Last year I completed my one hundreth mediation (it’s 112 to date, at 80% settlement rate).  Now, a century may not be a huge number compared with those QCs who do nothing else, but it is a modest landmark, and it got me thinking about where I’ve come from, how I got where I am […]

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Mediation: how to serve your client best

Posted on 2nd May 2019 by Chris Makin

There is no doubt that mediation as an essential step in civil litigation is here to stay.  We’ve seen the Overriding Objective in Part 1 of the CPR; Lord Woolf’s early cases with costs penalties; from Halsey the onus falling on the party refusing mediation to show that their refusal was reasonable; powerful speeches from Sir […]

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The real value of the meeting of experts

Posted on 17th April 2019 by Chris Makin

“It is ORDERED that the experts of like discipline shall meet, and shall discuss matters relevant to their opinions in this matter, and shall produce a Joint Statement, setting out those matters on which they are agreed, and those matters on which they have failed to agree, with a summary of their reasons for disagreeing.” […]

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What is the dispute really about?

Posted on 13th January 2019 by Chris Makin

When for some years I headed up a team of forensic accountants in my old national firm, as a matter of policy I always recruited people who were brighter than me.  They kept me on my toes and were great problem-solvers.  They also worked extremely hard; the customary valediction on a Friday evening was not […]

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The bon mots of Sir Alan

Posted on 21st November 2018 by Chris Makin

Sir Alan Ward has for the last few years been the Chairman of the Civil Mediation Council.  I have mediated with him, and he was excellent.  But as a Court of Appeal judge Lord Justice Ward also made his mark.  I detect two recurring themes in his judgments: encouraging parties not to be so daft […]

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Choose your expert with care!

Posted on 23rd October 2018 by Chris Makin

A sign seen in a Boston, Mass. shoe repairer’s window: “Fast Service – High Quality – Low Price – choose any two.” Is that how you choose your experts?  I sincerely hope not!  Here are my thoughts and suggestions, as a hard-bitten expert of 30 years’ experience.  I am a chartered accountant so the slant […]

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Is it sensible to be nice in business?

Posted on 12th October 2018 by Chris Makin

Attitude to business has changed quite a bit since I first became an accountant.  For the first 20 years or so of my career I was a general practitioner, acting for all sorts of clients: lots of tax return clients, lots of market traders and small family companies, up to some quite large organisations including […]

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Understanding business accounts – what to look out for

Posted on 25th September 2018 by Chris Makin

Lawyers are good with words, and accountants are good with figures.  What a pity they don’t talk the same language!  Now meet an accountant who is good with words – I have to be, as an experienced expert witness – which means that I must be weak with figures.  True?  Not really!  It’s a pity […]

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How Many Routes to Resolution?

Posted on 6th September 2018 by Chris Makin

Let me count the ways…  (Elizabeth Barratt Browning, Sonnet 43) Yes, there are many ways of resolving disputes, and it falls to the skilled legal practitioner to choose the right one.  It is no longer the case that going to court is the only way. In criminal cases, court is the almost inevitable route.  But […]

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We felt that you had a most reassuring and controlled approach to the issues. A party from a Chris Makin mediation