As one of BEWA’s newest members, I should declare my interest. Actually, it is threefold: –
1) For many years I was in practice as a Solicitor and partner in international law firm Ince & Co., practising mostly maritime law. As such, I had many occasions to instruct maritime experts. More recently I have gone over to the dark side and been called to the Bar. As a practising barrister I still have occasion to work with experts.
2) Over the years I am from time to time called upon to give expert evidence on English law in foreign Courts and Tribunals.
3) Now, as practising Arbitrator and Mediator it is not uncommon to have experts appear before me.
How appropriate that the Baltic, which spawned the LMAA, should now be siring BEWA. My understanding is that over 80% of worldwide maritime disputes are resolved in London and the overwhelming majority of those are resolved by LMAA arbitration.
Quoting from the Introduction to the LMAA Terms and Procedures 2017: “The LMAA was founded in 1960 but its roots and traditions extend back over the history of The Baltic Exchange of more than 350 years. Arbitrations were then conducted, often informally, before members of the ship broking fraternity.”
It must surely now be the ambition that BEWA achieve similar status in the world of maritime expert witnesses – in keeping with ‘Vision’ expressed by Tony Carroll: “To be the global centre for the provision of maritime expertise and associated services.”
The unique role of experts
In some jurisdictions the expert may be little more than a hired gun but not in this jurisdiction. Just as Solicitors and Barristers owe their first duty to the Court, so do expert witnesses – and this is enshrined in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) of the High Court. So, the integrity of the expert is paramount and it must be a key part of BEWA’s mission to preserve and enhance its members reputation for integrity.
It is like the soprano at the Met: if she misses her high notes, she will not be invited back. Actually, it’s rather more than that; a want of integrity risks undermining the process. A BEWA expert
should be a kite mark for excellence.
Click here to view Jonathan Lux’s details.