Forensic Accountant Expert Witness Cases
Our forensic accountant expert witnesses are experienced at presenting oral expert evidence at tribunals, courts and arbitration proceedings. While almost all our cases settle before the hearing, set out below are some of our recent reported cases.
Case Study – Business valuation – skip & waste business
This Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber hearing took place in January 2019 and concerned the extinguishment of a profitable waste transfer, skip hire and recycling business alongside a railway line. Both experts submitted several reports and joint statements. As a result most of the heads of claim were agreed between the experts before the hearing, including the EBITDA figure for maintainable earnings of £1.1 million. If the Tribunal decided there was sufficient evidence of pre-possession shadow losses then the experts agreed these at £610,206 with an additional EBITDA of £0.2 million. The Tribunal was asked to opine only on: (1) whether the business had suffered pre-possession losses, and (2) the appropriate multiplier to apply to the earnings figure. Welcocks Skip Hire Ltd v Network Rail  UKUT 0162 (LC).
Case Study – Business losses on termination of contract
The forensic accounting expert witness evidence in this High Court case concerned the losses that flowed from Chevrolet’s decision to give all its UK dealers two years’ notice of termination of their franchises. Many matters were settled between the experts before the trial following exchange of expert reports and in joint statements. Further analysis and evidence was agreed during the hearing at the request of the Judge. The Claimant’s expert assumed that Chevrolet’s announcement would not have a dampening effect on demand in the remaining contractual period. Our expert’s research showed that, while withdrawals were very rare, in Canada a leading brand in similar circumstances had experienced reduced demand by 40%, leading the Judge to conclude that demand would have reduced by 25% once the announcement was made. The Court also accepted our expert’s evidence that the claimed lost future servicing, parts and body repair sales were overstated. .J Toomey Motors Ltd & Anor v Chevrolet UK Limited  EWHC 276 (Comm)
Case Study – Losses arising from professional negligence
Our forensic accounting expert witness was appointed by solicitors acting for the defendant firm of solicitors to consider the quantum claim of £10 million. The expert’s team analysed the various allegations and the Claimant company’s trading history in detail and concluded that the losses were no more than £28,000. While many matters were agreed, each party’s forensic accounting expert witness presented oral evidence in court for a day. The Claimants complained that our expert’s approach towards the alleged damages had been unrealistically detailed and forensic, but this approach supported the conclusion that the claim was highly inflated and the Court agreed. Magical Marking Ltd & Anor v Ware & Kay LLP & Anor  EWHC 636 (Ch).
Case Study – UHNW divorce
Our expert was appointed by the wife’s solicitors. The husband had repeatedly flouted his duty to give full and frank disclosure of his finances. The two forensic accountant expert witnesses were able to agreed that neither had received the information and documents that would enable them to make any worthwhile assessment or valuation of the husband’s net worth or income. They each presented their best understanding of the financial position and gave expert evidence in court for a day each. This was a truly extraordinary case even within the parameters of the London Family Courts due to the number of hearings and the parties’ willingness to pursue the case as far as the Supreme Court. Prest v Prest  EWHC 2956 (Fam).
Case Study – Commercial agency termination
The claim arose as a result of the principal terminating the agency agreement. The agent has achieved limited sales over a very short period at the very beginning of the expected life-cycle of the principal’s software. As a result any quantification was based on only a few months’ sales history and forecasts. In his initial report the principal’s expert claimed no compensation was due under Regulation 17 of The Commercial Agents Regulations 1993 but following submission of our expert’s report the principal provided further evidence that provided a basis for the court to quantify compensation at £475,000. The experts evidence focussed on the expected maintainable level of earnings at the valuation date and the appropriate multiplier for the quantifying compensation. The Software Incubator Ltd v Computer Associates UK Ltd  EWHC 1587 (QB).
Case Study – Business valuation – discount retailer
This Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber case concerned the valuation approach for a retail business extinguished following compulsory purchase. There was little agreement between the experts about the value of the business and they were only able to agree the business’s margin at 36.3% and post-possession losses. Our expert quantified the Claimants’ losses at £1.7 million while the Defendants argued that the true value of the claim was £240,000. Following a two-week hearing, most of which concerned whether the retail business could be relocated, the Upper Tribunal Lands Chamber determined the value of the claim at £700,000. Crowley & Anor (t/a Contraband Discount Stores) v Liverpool PSDA Ltd & Anor  EWLands ACQ_47_2005.
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