The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street
SE1 9SG, London, England
"Always does a good job, even on the trickiest cases"
"Bruno is very personable and focused on the client relationship"
Bruno Augustin is a managing director in the expert services practice, based in the London office. He is a chartered accountant with over 20 years of experience working as a forensic accountant. He has received a number of expert appointments and worked on over 80 cases covering a wide range of sectors, forums and jurisdictions. Prior to joining Kroll, Bruno was a partner at Haberman Ilett, which was acquired by Kroll in 2020.
Name one of your most memorable cases.
It was an ICC arbitration between a defence contractor and a state about unpaid amounts for defence equipment that was never delivered. One of the questions was, to what extent was any amount payable for work done before the contract was terminated. It was complicated by the fact that the events occurred over 25 years ago so we had the challenge of making sense from a lack of available evidence. It was enjoyable also to spend time with a group of retired engineers who had been brought back to help compile evidence for the claim.
In your experience, what are some of the most important attributes of an effective expert?
Being independent, a good leader and communicator. Not afraid to back your own convictions even when faced with criticism, while at the same time being sufficiently flexible to change your direction when the situation requires it.
What are some of the key processes you undertake when resolving complex damages quantification?
Breaking it down into more manageable components, and then dealing with each one in turn until the full calculation emerges. All this while always keeping in mind the bigger picture of what you want to achieve.
How has your previous appointment as expert adjudicator enhanced your practice?
It has given me a different perspective on what a judge or tribunal looks for in submissions by the parties. A good judge will always do his or her homework beforehand, and often concentrates on one or two key points that would determine a judgment. As an expert, my task is to try and identify those key points, anticipating what the judge needs and ensure that it is covered in my report.
How has the dynamic between arbitral tribunals and experts changed over the years?
I think the tribunals have become more circumspect about experts whom they view as less than independent. They have increasingly taken charge of the proceedings themselves and tend to refer to experts mainly to cover areas they truly don’t understand. Therefore, the tribunal is likely to gravitate more to the expert it thinks is the most helpful in enhancing their understanding of the matter in hand.
What challenges do practitioners face with the increased volume of data being used in disputes, and how are you navigating them?
There is no doubt that big data has played an increasing role in determining disputes over the past decade. Practitioners have had to employ more sophisticated computer programs to compile, sort and analyse data in a way that helps them make sense of it all. The key is to keep it as simple as you can even in the midst of a complex range of evidence – concentrate on the few key inferences that can be made from your analysis. We also have employed teams of expert data analysts to support us when the need arises.
What challenges do hybrid hearings present from an impartiality standpoint?
Hybrid hearings emerged in a large way during the pandemic and are here to stay. I think they are a good thing and provide greater flexibility as to how hearings are held, without the need to run up huge travel costs to get everyone to the hearing venue. There are occasional technical glitches and challenges with instant communication between team members, but I don’t see that this affects impartiality in any way.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
Just be prepared to listen and learn throughout your career, have the courage of your convictions and don’t be afraid to back your honest view, even if you are out on a limb at times. And most of all, make sure you enjoy it!