Lynas Engineers Director Wayne Farrell discusses the need for - and his experiences of being - an Expert Witness.
The notion of being asked to stand as an Expert Witness can be daunting or exciting – and to many people a complete mystery. For some it might even evoke visions of starring in television crime dramas and being ‘called to the stand’; but as Lynas Engineers Director, Wayne Farrell said; “it’s really a necessary evil to keep standards high”.
In recent years Wayne has been called to be an expert witness in multiple cases where drainage standards have had to be ratified or challenged. Called upon for his detailed knowledge and understanding, Wayne is very open about his experiences.
“What is important about this whole process is knowing that you could ‘hand on heart’ stand behind your contribution. In every case there are two sides and when I was called upon for each occasion it was obviously important to try and do right by the Client, but what was more important was my integrity.”
“I always take into consideration whether or not my contribution would be the best fit for the case at that point. I know the impact that sub-standard schemes or improper deviations from standards can have, it can serious implications down the line. So, I make sure that if I take on a project like this that I have the confidence in my findings to potentially have to stand up in court and be challenged on them.”
Wayne’s first experience as an Expert Witness came relatively early in his career, when he was asked to contribute and challenge a report and findings from a much older, more experienced expert. He said, “It can be so daunting, to know you are going through someone else’s findings – and that they are going to go through yours too – but that’s where having really sound ethics, a strong knowledge in your field, and complete honesty when delivering your reports is so important. I still pride myself on those three elements every day”.
Wayne has trained and worked extensively in drainage and civil engineering for the better part of twenty years, and he confesses that there is very little he hasn’t seen. “Throughout my initial training and then working with a speciality in drainage for many years, I have seen pretty much everything; so, when I was approached to be an Expert Witness I was immediately drawn to the opportunity.”
With the rapid increase in developments following the Covid-19 impact, it is exciting to see a rise in construction across the country; but would this pose a risk of potential lowering of standards and a rise in the need for expert witnesses to settle future disputes?
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see more projects coming live, particularly in the Tees Valley after the last year or so. And I know that there will always be parties wanting to rush through a project or potentially cut some corners but those are few and far between and standards on projects are there for a reason. Companies need to be held to account for substandard design and construction, so as long as anyone being called on as an Expert Witness can stand their ground and be thorough in their reports, I don’t think there’s any cause for concern.”
Lynas Engineers offer a wide range of civil engineering services across the Tees Valley and beyond. Committed to raising standards in their field, Wayne is part of a growing team of staff who strive to deliver the most effective service, with integrity and professionalism at the very forefront of their work.