The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street
SE1 9SG, London, England
Peers and clients say:
"Joanne is an effective and convincing quantum expert"
"She produces well-structured and well-reasoned reports"
"She is really lovely to work with"
Joanne Prior, a managing director at Kroll, is a chartered quantity surveyor with over 30 years of experience in the construction industry. Joanne is regularly appointed as a quantum expert on large, complex international construction and engineering projects. She has considerable testifying experience and has given evidence in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) and in 15 arbitration hearings in the UK and internationally.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a quantum expert?
I’ve enjoyed being a quantity surveyor since my first day as a trainee quantity surveyor, and I’ve been lucky to have some great mentors throughout my career. A couple of those mentors acted as quantum experts and I saw this as something to aspire to.
What is the most significant trend you are noticing in the construction disputes marketplace?
More complexity. This seems to arise out of more complex projects, which are difficult to design, coordinate and construct. Disputes have an increasing focus on issues that are driven by utilities, services and technology.
How has your experience as a quantity surveyor enhanced your work as an expert witness?
I use my training and experience as a quantity surveyor every day. It is essentially still my job, although I am doing it as an independent expert in a dispute forum.
How do you effectively coordinate on cases when working alongside experts with other areas of expertise?
It is quite often the case that I am working with other Kroll experts, in which case coordination comes about by being in touch with each other generally. I think that it’s good to try to talk to the other experts to understand how their opinions will impact upon the quantum and this is something I try to initiate.
How are technological developments currently affecting the practice of quantum analysis?
We have an ever-increasing volume of data to deal with! This can make it tricky to capture all of the issues and so it’s good to get a searchable document platform set up as early as possible. It seems to me that the parties end up doing this for the hearing in any event and it would probably save a lot of time to get this in place from the outset.
To what extent are current dispute resolution forums an effective means to resolving complex construction disputes? Would you propose any reforms?
Sticking with arbitration, I think that tribunals are generally experienced and have good construction knowledge which they use to drive an effective process. In terms of reforms, I think it might be an idea to get early decisions on issues that present large volumes of work for experts. It might also be an idea to get the parties to confirm what is agreed, so that the scope of the experts’ work can be limited to what is not agreed. That sounds like an odd thing to say but you would be surprised how often experts are starting from different positions on what is already agreed.
What qualities make for a successful expert witness?
Somebody who is measured and persuasive. In my experience, those experts who can look at issues objectively and help to resolve the dispute are more likely to carry weight compared to those who take extreme views.
As managing director, what are your main priorities for the practice group’s development over the next five years?
Ensuring that we maintain our high-quality standards, independence and integrity. To do this we need great people and so training and developing our team is key. We work closely together to achieve this, and it has been even more important over the course of the coronavirus pandemic to maintain good relationships.
We are continuing to expand with the recruitment of some really good people and are venturing into new geographies. Building from the Kroll platform, we are expanding our construction business in Canada and North America which is already proving successful. Watch this space!