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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader
Thought Leaders - Construction 2019

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Liam Holder is “practical and able to produce clear, independent reports”, and he “excels at providing evidence at hearings”, according to various interviewees. Clients state that he is “always excellent” and commend his “superb quantum work”.

Questions & Answers

Mr Holder is a managing director with Secretariat International, based in the United Kingdom. Mr Holder specialises in the valuation of complex claims involving aspects such as valuation and measurement, delay, disruption, variations, defective works and termination claims. His experience has been gained across a variety of sectors and has included projects in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia and the Caribbean.
What motivated you to specialise in construction and engineering?

It was actually a person who motivated me to specialise in the sector. As a young man I was working for a friend who owned a small building company, labouring for him to save money for a road trip across the USA. I had no idea what I planned to do after travelling and he persuaded me I should consider academic opportunities in construction. When I returned, I worked with him before moving to a larger contractor. I studied on a part-time basis for nine years over the course of my early career, ultimately gaining a postgraduate qualification in construction law and arbitration.

What qualities do clients look for when selecting an effective construction expert?

Integrity and (obviously) an understanding of the role and duties of an expert witness. Professionalism, confidence and experience. Communication skills – written and oral. Clarity of thought and an ability to understand the critical issues. Patience and a willingness to work hard with the wider team to achieve difficult deadlines

Looking back over your career, what is the most memorable case you have been a part of?

Two cases spring to mind, which are memorable because of the contrasting approaches taken by my opposing expert. Both were substantial international arbitrations concerning major projects.

In one, my opposing expert refused to agree anything whatsoever, despite the tribunal urging agreement and despite there being many aspects of the quantum capable of agreement. That intransigence led to an interesting time at the hearing.

In the other, despite the substantial amount in dispute, which was spread across many independent and complex claims, with hard work and diligence my opposing expert and I were able to properly assist the tribunal and the parties by agreeing all the quantum.

I am a firm believer that a quantum expert should in most cases be able to agree figures, albeit often to reflect various alternative scenarios. Tribunals want to make decisions on liability and know that when they do so, the money they need to attach to those decisions has been agreed and does not become yet another argument.

Why do you think some parties are moving away from the usual practice of seeking their own individual expert assessment and instead getting a collective assessment for a dispute?

I have had a number of engagements recently where parties have opted to jointly appoint a quantum expert as an expert determiner or assessor, to review the matters in issue and provide an independent assessment. They have been non-binding and are not therefore decisions in the strict sense.

If the parties are able to accept that assessment, or use it as a basis to negotiate, they will of course save the time and expense associated with a large arbitration.

While the majority of my workload is as a party- or tribunal-appointed expert, I also act as a tribunal member myself, which is of course helpful when undertaking non-binding determinations or assessments.

It has been noted that mediation is increasingly being used to resolve construction disputes. Why do you think it is becoming more popular as a form of dispute resolution?

I think parties have, by virtue of the near-mandatory requirement to mediate in the UK, got used to the process and appreciate that mediation offers the real prospect of a quick and economic resolution. As the use of mediation has grown, so those individuals mediating disputes have also become more experienced and adept at running mediations in an effective manner.

What challenges do you face with the increased volume of data being used in disputes?

Long gone are the days when, as a quantum expert, you would be presented with a number of lever arch files containing all the information deemed relevant for your appointment, in hard copy. Now, we tend to be provided access to FTP sites containing volumes of electronic data, all of which require review and consideration. With the size of the projects and disputes we tend to get involved with, the sheer volume of data is often frightening. There is, of course, software available to rationalise the data that needs to be considered, but in my experience the volume of electronic information we are required to review is nonetheless still huge. The challenge is reviewing that information and identifying what is relevant in a timely and cost-effective manner.

How do you see your career developing over the next five years?

I hope to continue to be appointed as a quantum expert on large and interesting international disputes. Perhaps more importantly, I hope to continue to help my colleagues at Secretariat, supporting them so that they can secure their own appointments, develop their own careers and enjoy the same experiences I have enjoyed since I started practising as an expert.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

You are there solely to serve the Tribunal, so be calm, professional and just answer every question in a measured and straightforward manner.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Liam Holder is "practical and able to produce clear, independent reports" and "excels at providing evidence at hearings", according to various interviewees. Clients state that he is "always excellent" and commend his "superb quantum work".

Biography

As a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) with 30 years’ experience on major international construction and engineering projects, Liam Holder’s project involvement spans many sectors and geographies, including the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. He specialises in the valuation of complex claims involving aspects such as valuation and measurement, delay, disruption, variations, defective works and termination claims, and he is regularly appointed as quantum expert on large international projects.

Liam has served as expert advisor/witness during all phases of arbitration and litigation. He has provided written evidence to various tribunals (adjudication, dispute boards, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and litigation) and has given oral evidence on many occasions, including the provision of concurrent evidence (hot-tubbing), for the English High Court and various international arbitrations (ICSID, ICC, UNCITRAL, DIAC), as well as dispute boards, adjudications and mediations. He has given evidence in the UK, the Middle East, Europe and Canada.

Liam was a member of the working group established by the RICS to write the third edition of the RICS “Guidance Note for Surveyors Acting as Adjudicator”s. He is also the lead technical author for the fourth edition of the “RICS Practice Statement and Guidance Note for Surveyors Acting as Expert Witness”, the mandatory guidance for all RICS surveyors.

Liam holds an MSc in construction law and arbitration from Kings College, University of London and a BSc (Hons) degree in quantity surveying. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), a chartered construction manager (MCIOB), an accredited expert witness (CUEW), a member of the Academy of Experts (MAE) and a member of the Society of Construction Law.

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Liam Holder is an outstanding quantum and delay expert with 30 years’ experience across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has a “very good attention to detail and is extremely good in the witness box”.

Biography

As a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) with 30 years’ experience on major international construction and engineering projects, Liam Holder’s project involvement spans many sectors and geographies, including the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. He specialises in the valuation of complex claims involving aspects such as valuation and measurement, delay, disruption, variations, defective works and termination claims, and he is regularly appointed as quantum expert on large international disputes.

Liam has served as expert advisor/witness during all phases of arbitration and litigation. He has provided written evidence to various tribunals (adjudication, dispute boards, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and litigation) and has given oral evidence on many occasions, including the provision of concurrent evidence (hot-tubbing), for the English High Court and various international arbitrations (ICSID, ICC, UNCITRAL, DIAC), as well as dispute boards, adjudications and mediations. He has given evidence in the UK, the Middle East, Europe and Canada.

Liam was the lead technical author for the fourth edition of the “RICS Practice Statement and Guidance Note for Surveyors Acting as Expert Witness”, the mandatory guidance for all RICS surveyors.

Liam holds an MSc in construction law and arbitration from Kings College, University of London and a BSc (Hons) degree in quantity surveying. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), a chartered construction manager (MCIOB), an accredited expert witness (CUEW), a member of the Academy of Experts (MAE) and a member of the Society of Construction Law.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Liam Holder is well versed in providing quantum expertise on significant global disputes across a range of sectors from oil and gas to infrastructure.

Biography

As a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor (FRICS) with 30 years’ experience on major international construction and engineering projects, Liam Holder’s project involvement spans many sectors and geographies, including the UK, mainland Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. He specialises in the valuation of complex claims involving aspects such as valuation and measurement, delay, disruption, variations, defective works and termination claims, and he is regularly appointed as quantum expert on large international disputes.

Liam has served as expert advisor/witness during all phases of arbitration and litigation. He has provided written evidence to various tribunals (adjudication, dispute boards, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and litigation) and has given oral evidence on many occasions, including the provision of concurrent evidence (hot-tubbing), for the English High Court and various international arbitrations (ICSID, ICC, UNCITRAL, DIAC), as well as dispute boards, adjudications and mediations. He has given evidence in the UK, the Middle East, Europe and Canada.

Liam was  the lead technical author for the fourth edition of the “RICS Practice Statement and Guidance Note for Surveyors Acting as Expert Witness”, the mandatory guidance for all RICS surveyors.

Liam holds an MSc in construction law and arbitration from Kings College, University of London and a BSc (Hons) degree in quantity surveying. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), a chartered construction manager (MCIOB), an accredited expert witness (CUEW), a member of the Academy of Experts (MAE) and a member of the Society of Construction Law.

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