Peers and clients say:
"Franco is among the most experienced experts in the market"
"He is one of the best experts in the world"
"Franco is an incredibly well-respected name"
Franco has over 40 years of experience in the construction industry, including as expert witness in court and at the arbitration of project management, delay and quantum disputes. He holds a degree in law, is called to the English Bar, and is a chartered quantity surveyor. He is a chartered arbitrator and holds a master’s degree in project management, and a doctorate in the evaluation of construction contractors’ claims, on which he has written extensively. As dispute resolver, Franco regularly acts as mediator, adjudicator, expert determiner and arbitrator.
What do you enjoy most about being an expert witness?
Using the building blocks of my varied training and the accumulated experience of my construction practice in helping to resolve contested areas of appraisal or evaluation on projects that have for whatever reason failed.
You have extensive international experience. What benefits does this deliver to clients?
It allows me to reflect that experience in the advice to clients whether it be on the selection of a tribunal, working with legal representatives from different jurisdictions, the identification, gathering and processing of relevant information, or the presentation of expert evidence.
If you could change one thing about giving testimony as an arbitration expert, what would it be and why?
As an aid to completeness and usefulness to the tribunal, allowing the expert to consult marked-up copies of reports or working papers, particularly in complex cases where the answers to particular questions may not always be set out in the reports or otherwise be immediately to hand.
Practitioners report a marked increase in international mediation, even when there are arbitration clauses in contracts, due to cash-strapped businesses seeking early settlement. Is there a danger arbitration could take a back seat to mediation?
There is a role for both. Mediation should be encouraged if it can avoid the significant time and cost likely to be involved in international arbitration. Many international disputes involve a detailed investigation of contested liability, facts and figures, which it is not possible to achieve sufficiently with mediation.
What advantages accompany involving experts after the main evidentiary hearing? Why would parties and clients choose to pursue this option?
The parties will usually want expert input into post-hearing submissions. More controversially, the tribunal may feel that it wants to investigate with the experts matters that may not have been explored either fully or at all in the hearing. The tribunal may be concerned about having properly understood the evidence. The tribunal may want assistance from the experts in carrying out appraisals of design, time or quantum. Such post-hearing involvements between the tribunal and the experts needs to be carefully thought through and be the subject of parties’ agreement (including confidentiality arrangements between the tribunal and the experts) to avoid challenges to the integrity of the arbitration process.
What underrated skills would you encourage the up-and-coming generation of arbitration professionals to develop?
For experts: honing skills in writing and expressing themselves concisely, clearly, and consistently. For dispute resolvers to be fully familiar with the issues and identify where you need further clarity or assistance from the parties or their witnesses, and be sure to get it.