Timothy Allen
Firm:
PwC
Office:
1 Embankment Place
WC2N 6RH
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 7212 3598

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Tim is the lead partner in PwC’s international arbitration team. He acts as an expert on loss, accounting and valuation issues in a wide range of disputes and industries with over 25 years’ experience of in excess of 130 expert assignments. He has testified on over 35 occasions. Tim specialises in substantial cross-border disputes taken to arbitration, both commercial and investment treaty, and he has acted as expert under the rules of all of the major arbitral institutions.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

I trained as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse, working in the London and New York offices. I became a member of the forensics group in 1990 and have specialised in disputes expert work ever since. I left Price Waterhouse in 1994 to form the first UK-based forensic accounting boutique, which grew into an international business, with offices in London, New York and Hong Kong. In 2005 the business was acquired by a US-based consulting group and I was appointed to the management board as the global leader of forensics and the co-head of the international arbitration practice. I rejoined PwC as a partner in the disputes practice in 2015, where I have the responsibility for the international arbitration offering. I have testified in some of the largest disputes taken to arbitration globally, and have appeared as an expert in all of the major international arbitration fora. I have acted for both claimants and respondents in a substantial number of bilateral investment treaty claims, and first testified in a BIT claim in 2004. I have also appeared as an expert in UK High Court proceedings and in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as in the US courts.

I have testified on accounting and quantum in a wide range of industries, with particular emphasis on mining, oil and gas, energy, telecoms and financial services.

YOU HAVE WORKED FOR A NUMBER OF FIRMS DURING YOUR 34-YEAR CAREER. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE KEY DIFFERENCES FOR EXPERTS WORKING IN LARGE PARTNERSHIPS AND BOUTIQUE OUTFITS?

The common perception is that the boutique firms are less constrained by conflicts of interest.  While this is true to an extent, the flip side is that the larger firms have an incredible support network in terms of geographic reach, language and technical capabilities and industry expertise. There is an expert in every potential issue within the firm.

HOW HAS THE ROLE OF EXPERT WITNESSES IN ARBITRAL PROCEEDINGS DEVELOPED OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER?

Tribunals and lawyers have become much more familiar with the concepts of loss presented by experts and often have a detailed understanding and comprehension of the approach adopted and the findings of the expert. This has made the role of the expert in proceedings much more targeted and efficient. In addition, tribunals and parties have become more willing to mandate expert dialogue prior to a hearing, which is often instrumental in narrowing the gap between experts.

SOURCES HAVE NOTED KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE US AND EUROPEAN APPROACHES TO EXPERT TESTIMONY. WHAT ARE THE KEY ISSUES THAT ARISE WHEN THESE APPROACHES INTERACT IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRAL PROCEEDINGS?

I think that this has become less of an issue over time. The US approach to expert testimony is sometimes seen as more partisan than the European approach, but I think tribunals are aware of this, and compensate for it when it arises. The expert’s duty is to the tribunal and any approach that adopts a different view is misguided.

THE VIEWPOINTS OF EXPERT WITNESSES ON QUANTUM ARE OFTEN VERY FAR APART. IS THIS AN INEVITABLE PART OF THE ARBITRATION PROCESS, OR DO YOU THINK THIS ISSUE CAN BE ADDRESSED, AND IF SO, HOW?

As noted above, the mandating of expert dialogue during the expert process can have a marked impact on bringing experts closer together. This is becoming almost standard in certain fora and is a welcome solution to bringing experts closer together. I believe that expert dialogue, whether through a joint meeting, joint memorandum or witness conferencing, is always worth pursuing.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

The international arbitration practice at PwC is extremely well placed for growth and it is great to be part of it. The firm has an excellent global reach with specialist forensic skills present in most territories, but even more important than this is the depth of technical and industry expertise within the firm. I believe that tribunals are often frustrated by the lack of such expertise in proceedings. I have adopted an approach of issuing joint expert reports with industry experts from the firm wherever this applicable. I believe that this has benefitted the dispute resolution process enormously and that these joint reports will become more of a feature in the future.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER EXPERTS WHO HOPE ONE DAY TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?

It is difficult for a younger expert to break through into being trusted to give testimony for the first time. One way of achieving this is by younger experts suggesting to established experts within their firm that they take on the expert role for a less contentious part of a claim, for example in relation to the establishment of costs actually incurred. Both experts can then produce a joint report and testify together on discrete issues.

LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE MATTER YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

Many matters are memorable by their size, profile and complexity; however, the most memorable is probably an insurance arbitration that I testified in in New York in relation to the costs of the rebuild of the World Trade Center following its destruction on 9/11. Being part of a dispute that related to a global tragedy and that dealt with much of the details of the aftermath and its financial cost was truly humbling.

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