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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Mark Dixon

Mark Dixon

HKA11 Pilgrim StreetLondonEnglandEC4V 6RN

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Construction 2019

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Mark Dixon writes “excellent reports that are clear and thorough, and reach sensible conclusions” and that “earn the trust of tribunals”. He is considered “particularly strong on oil and gas and offshore matters”.

Questions & Answers

Mark Dixon is a chartered quantity surveyor, chartered arbitrator and partner at HKA with over 35 years of experience in construction and engineering. He is a respected quantum expert witness who first testified in court in 1995. Mark specialises in large international oil and gas, marine, industrial and utilities sector projects, and has been instructed on many high-value disputes with up to US$1.2 billion in issue. He is also an experienced adjudicator and arbitrator.

What attracted you to a career as an expert witness?

Firstly, working on large international arbitration and litigation cases with some of the world’s most talented lawyers in the construction and engineering field. Secondly, being part of a process helping tribunals and parties find an answer to the issues in dispute.

What qualities do clients look for when selecting a testifying expert?

The usual qualities that experienced clients look for, in addition to being well qualified and experienced, is someone who can quickly cut through what is often a huge amount of project data in order to get to the nub of the issues within their field and reach clear and credible opinions based on the factual evidence. In addition, clients usually look for someone who has a track record of earning the trust of the tribunal, while giving oral testimony, by delivering honest and independent answers to the questions put in a calm, authoritative and persuasive manner.

How has the construction market changed since you started practising?

I started my practice as a quantity surveyor in the 1980s. Much has changed since then, not least in terms of how data is handled and processed, improvements in health and safety, and globalisation of the market.

In terms of dispute resolution, the UK construction market has of course been transformed by the advent of statutory adjudication in 1998. Adjudication is now the primary means of resolving disputes in the UK in most sectors and, as a result, the popularity of arbitration has declined. The opposite is true of the international market. Although adjudication is being introduced in some jurisdictions, arbitration continues to grow in popularity, which probably reflects the ever-increasing globalisation of major project participants.

What are some headwinds currently affecting the global construction market?

The main headwinds currently affecting the global construction industry are political in

nature – such as Brexit, trade-war tensions resulting from US policy, and wider geopolitical issues associated with Russia and Iran, plus concerns arising out of forecasted downturns in economic growth in China and the global economy generally. Despite these headwinds, the global construction market is currently doing well. This may begin to cause overheating of local markets, causing capacity and cost escalation headwinds.

So far as the oil and gas industry is concerned, the sector has seen recent tailwinds associated with economic recovery, reduced labour costs and improvements in technology. However, potential headwinds remain due to political uncertainties and the fluidity of prices. Other potential headwinds include greater regulation as a result of environmental concerns and the availability of a suitably qualified technical workforce.

How does your experience as arbitrator and adjudicator enhance your work as testifying expert?

My practice as arbitrator and adjudicator enhances my work as a testifying expert because it allows me to see the dispute from a dispute resolver’s perspective. This is important in terms of identifying the issues that need to be decided within my field and in knowing what is required from me, as the expert, in addressing those issues.

Where, in your opinion, does the future of the practice area lie?

For me, the biggest issue in expert witness testimony is quality. Recently, several experts have been the subject of severe criticism from judges in the UK. This has been due to a perception that their evidence failed to comply with their overriding duty to the court in providing evidence that is impartial and uninfluenced by those instructing or paying the expert. I suspect that we may see further regulation in due course to improve the quality of expert evidence coming before the courts and other tribunals.

That said, I think the current system of party-appointed experts is here to stay in the construction and engineering sectors, with single joint experts or tribunal-appointed experts being used only occasionally. However, I expect that we will see more use of concurrent expert conferencing (hot-tubbing) instead of cross-examination, which in my view is an extremely effective means of testing the credibility of expert evidence if controlled properly by the tribunal.

Looking back over your career, what was the most interesting matter you have been a part of?

I have been fortunate enough to have worked on numerous large and technically challenging international construction and engineering projects and disputes, which have taken me around the world to some great locations.

Many of those have been very interesting for one reason or another. However, one that springs to mind was my role as commercial adviser to a shipyard on the construction of an offshore support vessel in the Netherlands. The project was beset with problems, as a result of major items of owner-furnished equipment being delivered late. This required careful management to mitigate the impacts, including working significantly out of sequence while in dry dock. The project was challenging, but it is was satisfying to see the vessel eventually sail for its sea trials.

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

“Remain in the moment and enjoy the journey as you follow your dream.” This advice is true not only in terms of pursuing a career, but many things in life that require hard work and dedication in order to reach a long-term goal.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Mark Dixon writes "excellent reports that are clear, thorough and reach sensible conclusions" and "earn the trust of tribunals". He is considered "particularly strong on oil and gas and offshore matters".

Biography

Mark Dixon is a chartered quantity surveyor, chartered arbitrator and partner at HKA with over 35 years of experience in the construction and engineering industries. He is a respected and widely experienced quantum expert witness having acted in over 30 significant cases.

Mark first testified as an expert witness in court in 1995. He has given oral testimony in the English courts and in various international arbitration proceedings, by both traditional cross-examination and concurrent expert conferencing (or "hot-tubbing"). Mark's expert commissions have included projects of up to US$2.5 billion in value and disputes of up to US$1.2 billion.

He specialises in large international oil and gas, marine and industrial sector projects and has been appointed as expert on offshore and onshore oil and gas facilities in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East; shipbuilding contracts in Europe and Asia; and power, utilities and process plant projects in Europe. He has also been appointed on various infrastructure and building contracts in Europe.

In addition to his expert witness and advisory roles, Mark is an experienced third-party neutral. He has been appointed as adjudicator or arbitrator on over 400 cases. Mark is listed in the RICS, ICE, CIArb, TeCSA, RIBA, CIC and CLG panels of adjudicators and the RICS, CIArb, HKIAC, CIETAC, SHIAC, SCIA and PIAC panels of arbitrators. Mark's expert witness and dispute resolution practice is underpinned by extensive experience acting in the capacities of quantity surveyor, contract administrator and claims adviser on projects and asset management programmes up to £5 billion in value.

Mark has been described as “a superb expert with a strong reputation for his construction expertise in the shipping and maritime sector” and “a distinguished quantum and delay expert providing analysis and testimony of the highest order”, who “remains a firm favourite among industry players who praise his strong analytical skills and hands-on approach”.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Mark Dixon is recognised for his brilliant work in the construction sector having acted on over 30 occasions as a quantum expert in high-value disputes. 

Biography

Mark Dixon is a chartered quantity surveyor, chartered arbitrator and partner at HKA with over 35 years of experience in the construction and engineering industries. He is a respected and widely experienced quantum expert witness having acted in over 30 significant cases.

Mark first testified as an expert witness in court in 1995. He has given oral testimony in the English courts and in various international arbitration proceedings, by both traditional cross-examination and concurrent expert conferencing (or "hot-tubbing"). Mark's expert commissions have included contacts of up to US$2.5 billion in value and disputes of up to US$1.2 billion.

He specialises in large international oil and gas, marine and industrial sector projects and has been appointed as expert on offshore and onshore oil and gas facilities in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East; shipbuilding contracts in Europe and Asia; and power, utilities and process plant projects in Europe. He has also been appointed on various infrastructure and building contracts in Europe.

In addition to his expert witness and advisory roles, Mark is an experienced third-party neutral. He has been appointed as adjudicator or arbitrator on over 400 cases. Mark is listed in the RICS, ICE, CIArb, TeCSA, RIBA, CIC and CLG panels of adjudicators and the RICS, CIArb, HKIAC, CIETAC, SHIAC, SCIA and PIAC panels of arbitrators. 
Mark's expert witness and dispute resolution practice is underpinned by extensive experience acting in the capacities of quantity surveyor, contract administrator and claims adviser on projects and asset management programmes up to £5 billion in value.

Mark has been described as “a superb expert with a strong reputation for his construction expertise in the shipping and maritime sector” and “a distinguished quantum and delay expert providing analysis and testimony of the highest order”, who “remains a firm favourite among industry players who praise his strong analytical skills and hands-on approach”.

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