Stephen Warne on professional negligence, regulation and discipline around the world

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Obligations of expert witnesses to be transparent about costs blowouts

November 10th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Ireland as Executor of the Estate of the Gordon v Retallack [2011] NSWSC 1096 is the subject of this sister post.  I thought this paragraph might also come in useful for litigators and costs lawyers:

’19.  The fault is not however entirely that of [the solicitors]. Professional experts have an obligation to behave promptly, frankly and openly when or if they become aware that their estimate of fees and expenses is likely to be materially exceeded. They must inform their principal and provide an opportunity for an informed choice to be made – whether or not to proceed with the engagement or to re-negotiate its terms and extent. It is commercially unacceptable for a professional expert to remain silent, to complete the work and then to present a bill significantly in excess of the original estimate – as if it were a fait accompli. Such conduct is unacceptable whether it is merely forgetful, or just sharp.’

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Tags: costs disclosure defaults · Professional fees and disbursements