Peers and clients say:
"Colin provides practical explanations in his reports"
"He is very easy to communicate with"
"Colin is able to distil complex accounting and valuation principles into clear language, which plays well with tribunals"
Colin is a valuation, finance and complex commercial damages expert who has over 30 years of experience including acting as lender, equity investor, developer, and legal and financial adviser. He has acted as an expert on over 50 occasions on disputed sums of up to $50 billion on a worldwide basis. Sector experience includes power, oil and gas, infrastructure, agriculture, mining, construction, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, tourism, and telecoms. Languages include Spanish, Portuguese, French some German/Italian.
What motivated you to pursue a career as an expert witness?
I didn’t set out to be an expert witness, I was originally an energy specialist and got pulled into various cases as an energy expert. It then suited to swap to doing that as the main focus, with a broader energy advisory focus also remaining.
How has the role of testifying expert developed since you started in the area?
I think that the roles are becoming more specialist – years ago for many experts it was enough to be known as an expert, now increasingly specific sector, geographic or sub service-line experience is required (or all three!).
What has been your most memorable case to date?
Hard question as many cases are memorable for different reasons. The biggest ($50bn for the Yukos ECHR case), longest (running over about seven years in total I think for my part, more for others), best arbitration location (Oman), shortest appearance (zero as not called), most surprising (old company reports of companies I had been a director of were sprung on us at hearing to try to make a point, though it wasn’t successful).
You have extensive experience as a litigation and arbitration expert in extremely high-value disputes. What are the key skills younger practitioners should develop to succeed in such disputes?
I would list three: Holistic and detailed analysis (a helicopter view), resilience (a tough hide) and remaining focused (staying true to your expertise).
Holistic and detailed analysis aka the helicopter view. This is about the ability to pull out to look at a case in overview then be able to pull right in to get close into specific details to ensure that they match the overview.
Resilience: The tough hide is as counsel (and some experts!) will at times be aggressive to you and attack you personally in any way they can. It usually means they have little else to go on.
Focus/staying true to your expertise is about ensuring that you remain focused on what you are there to opine on and also if counsel seek to sway you, that you remain true to your opinions.
In what ways are developing technologies changing the ways in which forensic analysis and valuations are conducted?
AI is not yet ingrained into forensic analysis and valuations but is likely to become more prevalent. I expect it to allow further analysis faster, which may lead to more detail in expert reports but not, as yet, replacing the expert.
How have widespread supply chain shortages and price volatility impacted disputes and the valuation process?
This varies by each case, there have been times e.g. in oil and gas when sudden price drops seem to have led to contract terminations.. Supply chain shortages seem to be permeating some of the renewables market, particularly offshore.
If you could change one aspect of the expert role within arbitration proceedings, what would it be and why?
The inability in some proceedings to be able to answer what another expert says in a hearing as sometimes what is said is totally wrong, but the legal team may not have the background to be able to fully challenge that.
What advice would you give to younger experts hoping to one day be in your position?
Treat your senior colleagues as your clients as they are, they will have an ability to choose if they bring you in on future cases.
Build yourself into being a great number two on a team as that helps show lawyers you could run it.
Build relationships with the legal teams you work with now as very quickly they will become the people appointing you.