Colin Johnson holds over three decades of experience providing first-class expert testimony in a variety of claims, especially those arising from energy projects.
Colin is a valuations 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 and some German/Italian.
How did you develop expertise in such a wide range of industries?
Prior to becoming an expert, I had already worked across a range of industries as part of being an investment manager and project financier, so gained experience in finance itself (especially project finance and private equity), power, construction, agriculture, telecoms just to name a few. I then built on this with clients repeating appointments in different areas, expanding the industries covered.
You have built a reputation as a very credible expert witness, particularly during cross-examination. What steps do you follow to make such an impression?
Being true to my experience helps a lot as I am often talking from that past experience as well as being a pure damages expert. Beyond that, preparation, usually assisted by an able team which is always helpful, even if only I have to answer the cross-examination.
You have acted as an expert witness for disputes involving tens of billions of dollars at a time. How do you maintain your composure during such high-stakes matters?
Whether tens of billions or tens of millions, it is still important for my client so in all matters I simply focus on ensuring I am addressing tribunal questions.
Has your proficiency in several languages been an asset to your international practice?
Yes undoubtedly – for both investigations and arbitration, being able to read in several languages has helped a number of cases. Also, as I can testify in Spanish that is of course a further asset.
When is discounted cash flow (DCF) your preferred method of valuation and what are the alternatives?
For the type of investments I work with, DCF is a preferred valuation method so often the one to choose, provided the available information allows that. Market and asset-based alternatives can be appealing as simpler, but less likely to lead to a market value for a particular asset
How do you tailor your testimony depending on the nature of the dispute?
By focusing on what the key issues are that my testimony is in relation to – as my background also leads to appointments where financeability/viability is an issue, I have to consider that as well as damages so may need to explain why my experience enables me to cover both, why a business would or would not raise financing.
What are the principal challenges facing testifying experts over the next few years?
Being seen as hired guns is a big challenge for experts.
What excites you most about the future of litigation expert practice?
The fact that arbitrators, counsel and experts are moving closer together to understand each other and there is greater knowledge of what we do. This enables better outcomes as arbitrators become more comfortable with how the marketplace more broadly values potential investments.