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Chris Milburn

Chris Milburn

SecretariatBay Adelaide Centre, East Tower22 Adelaide Street West, Suite 2450TorontoOntarioCanadaM5H 4E3

Thought Leader

Peers and clients say

"Chris was hard-working, creative and provided timely advice"
"He is composed, precise and stands up well under cross-examination"
"Probably the most reliable independent valuation expert in the field of mining arbitration"

Questions & Answers

Mr Milburn is a managing director at Secretariat Advisors (Canada). He is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant (CPA/CMA), a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) and is a qualified valuator under the Canadian Institute of Mining’s Valuation Standards and Guidelines (CIMVAL). He has over 20 years of experience in the quantification of economic damages and the valuation of business interests in the context of international arbitrations, litigation and consulting. 

Which key qualities and attributes do effective expert witnesses need to possess? 

Effective expert witnesses need to be able to provide reasonable, well-supported opinions, retain their objectivity and independence throughout the dispute process and be able to clearly explain complex issues in simple terms.  

What do you think is driving the increase in hot-tubbing in arbitration proceedings? 

I have not seen an increase in the use of witness conferencing in my cases but do think it should be used more frequently. In my view, direct interaction between the experts, guided by questions from an arbitral tribunal, is an efficient way for the arbitral tribunal to get to the heart of key issues and can lead to agreement and compromise between independent experts. 

How has covid-19 affected clients? What do you predict to be the long-term effects of the pandemic on your practice?

The impact of covid-19 on my clients has been varied. Most of my active cases continued without any issues while some were delayed, and one is on hold until an in-person hearing can be scheduled. Certain potential clients have also held off on bringing new cases given the uncertainty and the inability to travel and meet in person to coordinate and plan. In terms of the long-term effects on my practice, I hope there won’t be any, although given the demonstrated effectiveness of videoconferencing for client meetings and hearings I expect to travel less in future. 

What impact will the move away from carbon-based energy have on the mining sector and the types of disputes you expect to see?

The transition from carbon-based energy over the coming decades will impact the types of mining projects that are developed as commodity prices adjust to reflect new supply and demand profiles for different minerals. It will also impact mining operations and costs as renewable energy sources are used to power operations and electric vehicles become the norm. 

In terms of future cases, we have already started to see cases where coal producers are bringing claims for the improper cancellation of long-term projects (such as the RWE AG v. Netherlands) and I expect that will continue. A shift away from carbon-based energy will increase the dependence on battery technology which requires many different types of minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and cadmium. As those minerals become more important, and subject to new technologies or substitutes being developed, I believe we will see more disputes involving projects mining those minerals (such as the recent Chile v. Albemarle arbitration case over royalties). 

Do you have any tips for counsel on how to use an expert team effectively?

Getting experts involved early to assess the facts and key expert issues help counsel assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case, develop its legal case theory, and manage client expectations. A last-minute expert analysis/report is never ideal and can compromise the quality of an expert analysis. Keeping open communication with the expert team is also key to ensure experts are on track with their assignments through periodic update calls, and the preparation of work plans and report outlines. 

How can clients minimise the risk of disputes arising?

In arbitrations involving natural resource projects, for example, many of the disputes arise from a complex interaction between environmental, social, economic and political factors. One possible way to avoid disputes in these cases is to ensure licences are obtained lawfully and without an appearance of attempting to circumvent the rules, by engaging meaningfully with local communities to obtain the social licence to operate and operating in an environmentally conscientious and sustainable manner. 

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I would like to serve as an arbitrator in future to deal with damages issues as I think that is something that could improve the arbitral process since typically arbitrators are very experienced legal professionals, yet they are deciding not only legal issues but also complex damages issues involving millions or billions of dollars. In my view, having damages experts on arbitration panels to help formulate and provide detailed explanations for the basis and determination for the damages awarded would be very useful. 

What challenges do the next generation of expert witnesses face and how can they prepare for them?

A major challenge for all young experts is being retained on cases they can testify on to establish themselves. This has been very difficult during covid-19 due to the inability to build relationships with lawyers and potential clients in person at conferences and meetings and hearings. If videoconferencing continues to be highly used post-covid-19, this will continue to be a challenge for experts. Young experts can increase their profile through article writing, presenting on conference panels, connecting one-on-one with counsel and potential clients where possible (even if by video) and seeking co-testifying opportunities on cases where they are working with more senior experts. 

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Chris was hard-working, creative and provided timely advice"
"He is composed, precise and stands up well under cross-examination"
"Probably the most reliable independent valuation expert in the field of mining arbitration"

Biography

Mr Milburn is a managing director at Secretariat and is based in Toronto. He is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant (CPA/CMA), a chartered business valuator (CBV) and is a qualified valuator under the Canadian Institute of Mining's Valuation Standards and Guidelines (CIMVAL). He has over 20 years of experience in the quantification of economic damages and the valuation of business interests and forensic and financial investigations in the context of international arbitrations, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, personal injury litigation, tax litigation and consulting for internal business purposes.

His work experience includes hundreds of matters relating to assets and business interests on every continent and involving billions of dollars in dispute across many industries including mining, oil and gas, energy, financial services, investment banking, asset management, manufacturing, textiles, software and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Milburn has provided expert testimony relating to valuation and economic damages issues numerous times including in international arbitration cases heard at the World Bank in Washington DC, the World Bank in Paris, the New York International Arbitration Centre, Maxwell Chambers in Singapore and Arbitration Place in Toronto.

Mr Milburn speaks regularly on damage quantification and valuation issues and has been involved in the education and training of professional valuators as well as advocacy training programmes for lawyers for many years.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Chris Milburn “would certainly be well recommended” thanks to his remarkable facility for providing excellent economic analysis to clients on damages and business valuations.  

Biography

Mr Milburn is a managing director at Secretariat and is based in Toronto. He is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant (CPA/CMA), a chartered business valuator (CBV) and is a qualified valuator under the Canadian Institute of Mining's Valuation Standards and Guidelines (CIMVAL). He has over 20 years of experience in the quantification of economic damages and the valuation of business interests and forensic and financial investigations in the context of international arbitrations, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, personal injury litigation, tax litigation and consulting for internal business purposes.

His work experience includes hundreds of matters relating to assets and business interests on every continent and involving billions of dollars in dispute across many industries including mining, oil and gas, energy, financial services, investment banking, asset management, manufacturing, textiles, software and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Milburn has provided expert testimony relating to valuation and economic damages issues numerous times including in international arbitration cases heard at the World Bank in Washington DC, the World Bank in Paris, the New York International Arbitration Centre, Maxwell Chambers in Singapore and Arbitration Place in Toronto.

Mr Milburn speaks regularly on damage quantification and valuation issues and has been involved in the education and training of professional valuators as well as advocacy training programmes for lawyers for many years.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Chris Milburn is a well-established name in the Canadian market renowned for his broad experience across tax, insurance and personal injury matters.

Biography

Mr Milburn is a managing director at Secretariat International and is based in Toronto. He is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant (CPA/CMA), a chartered business valuator (CBV) and is a qualified valuator under the Canadian Institute of Mining's Valuation Standards and Guidelines (CIMVAL). He has over 20 years of experience in the quantification of economic damages and the valuation of business interests and forensic and financial investigations in the context of international arbitrations, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, personal injury litigation, tax litigation and consulting for internal business purposes.

His work experience includes hundreds of matters relating to assets and business interests on every continent and involving billions of dollars in dispute across many industries including mining, oil and gas, energy, financial services, investment banking, asset management, manufacturing, textiles, software and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Milburn has provided expert testimony relating to valuation and economic damages issues numerous times including in international arbitration cases heard at the World Bank in Washington DC, the World Bank in Paris, the New York International Arbitration Centre, Maxwell Chambers in Singapore and Arbitration Place in Toronto.

Mr Milburn speaks regularly on damage quantification and valuation issues and has been involved in the education and training of professional valuators as well as advocacy training programmes for lawyers for many years.

Mining Experts 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Chris Milburn is regarded as “one of the most solid and reliable independent valuation experts in the field of mining arbitration”.

Biography

Mr Milburn is a managing director at Secretariat and is based in Toronto. He is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant (CPA/CMA), a chartered business valuator (CBV) and is a qualified valuator under the Canadian Institute of Mining's Valuation Standards and Guidelines (CIMVAL). He has over 20 years of experience in the quantification of economic damages and the valuation of business interests and forensic and financial investigations in the context of international arbitrations, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, personal injury litigation, tax litigation and consulting for internal business purposes.

His work experience includes hundreds of matters relating to assets and business interests on every continent and involving billions of dollars in dispute across many industries including mining, oil and gas, energy, financial services, investment banking, asset management, manufacturing, textiles, software and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Milburn has provided expert testimony relating to valuation and economic damages issues numerous times including in international arbitration cases heard at the World Bank in Washington DC, the World Bank in Paris, the New York International Arbitration Centre, Maxwell Chambers in Singapore and Arbitration Place in Toronto.

Mr Milburn speaks regularly on damage quantification and valuation issues and has been involved in the education and training of professional valuators as well as advocacy training programmes for lawyers for many years.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Chris Milburn is an “extremely strong and reliable valuation expert” who is recognised for his first-rate work on mining disputes.

Biography

Mr Milburn is a managing director at Secretariat and is based in Toronto. He is a chartered professional accountant, certified management accountant (CPA/CMA), a chartered business valuator (CBV) and is a qualified valuator under the Canadian Institute of Mining's Valuation Standards and Guidelines (CIMVAL). He has over 20 years of experience in the quantification of economic damages and the valuation of business interests and forensic and financial investigations in the context of international arbitrations, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, personal injury litigation, tax litigation and consulting for internal business purposes.

His work experience includes hundreds of matters relating to assets and business interests on every continent and involving billions of dollars in dispute across many industries including mining, oil and gas, energy, financial services, investment banking, asset management, manufacturing, textiles, software and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Milburn has provided expert testimony relating to valuation and economic damages issues numerous times including in international arbitration cases heard at the World Bank in Washington DC, the World Bank in Paris, the New York International Arbitration Centre, Maxwell Chambers in Singapore and Arbitration Place in Toronto.

Mr Milburn speaks regularly on damage quantification and valuation issues and has been involved in the education and training of professional valuators as well as advocacy training programmes for lawyers for many years.

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