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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Mark Dixon

Mark Dixon

HKA11 Pilgrim StreetLondonEnglandEC4V 6RN

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Mark Dixon is an “excellent and very reliable expert”, praised for his “hands-on” approach to contentious proceedings across the construction and engineering sectors.

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 do you enjoy most about working as construction expert witness?

There are two things I enjoy most about working as an expert witness. Firstly, working as part of large multi-disciplinary teams on some of the largest construction and engineering disputes in the world. Secondly, assisting the Tribunal in reaching the appropriate conclusions on the merits of a case. There is nothing more rewarding as an expert witness than having one’s opinions accepted by – and receiving positive comments from – a judge or arbitral tribunal in a judgment or award.

How does your background as a quantity surveyor enhance your current practice? 

Although it is not very common to find quantity surveyors working on international offshore engineering fabrication and shipbuilding projects, the skills gained from my practice as a project quantity surveyor in other sectors, such as infrastructure, definitely does enhance my practice as an expert witness across all sectors. This background assists me in selecting the most appropriate form of valuation or assessment methodology for forming opinions as to the appropriate value or cost associated with any particular claim. My project experience has also allowed me to develop a deep understanding of project management and commercial issues that face the parties engaged in large scale capital projects.

What challenges do you think the covid-19 pandemic will have on how arbitrations are conducted, as an expert?

The biggest challenge concerns how hearings are conducted. At present, many judges and arbitrators are moving to online hearings using platforms such as Skype for Business or Zoom. Although early anecdotal evidence indicates that the participants in such hearings are relatively happy with how the process worked, challenges remain. For example, in international arbitrations, it is common for participants to be based in various locations around the world, which might require an expert to give oral evidence outside of normal working hours. This is not ideal. Also, time lags and variable standards of internet connection can disrupt the hearing. Access to the correct documents for the purposes of cross-examination must also be carefully planned to avoid problems.

What challenges does cross-examination under oath pose for experts like yourself, and how do you tackle them?

I personally don’t believe that being cross-examined under oath makes any difference to the evidence that I give to a tribunal, as I always aim to give my complete, honest and impartial opinion on anything that I may be asked irrespective of whether that evidence is given under oath or not.

What benefits does hot-tubbing offer to arbitration proceedings where you have to give expert testimony?

I am a big fan of concurrent witness conferencing, or “hot-tubbing” as it is colloquially known. I have been “hot-tubbed” on several occasions and been very happy with how it went. When conducted properly it allows the tribunal to quickly get a sense of the relative strengths of the opposing experts’ opinions on the matters upon which they are not agreed. The system does, however, rely on a well-prepared tribunal for it to work effectively. I particularly like the way in which it is possible to challenge the views of the opposing expert on the matters upon which we are not agreed directly before the tribunal. I find that this is much more effective and efficient than traditional cross-examination of each expert.

What did you find most challenging about starting out in the field? 

The most challenging aspect of starting out as an expert witness is undoubtedly obtaining the first appointment, because most clients wish to instruct an experienced expert witness. Having said that, I was lucky enough to obtain instructions to act as a quantum expert witness in an English court case relatively early in my career. That was back in 1995. In the early days of acting as an expert witness, I found that managing the expectations of a client was a challenge where my opinions might not have fully supported the client’s case. That is a skill that develops with experience.

What particular skills are required of experts specialising in delay and scheduling disputes?

For me, the most important skill required of a delay or scheduling expert is the ability to set out their opinions clearly and concisely based on the available factual evidence and, in doing so, gain the confidence of the Tribunal such that it is comfortable adopting the opinions of the expert in deciding the relevant issues in the case. This is easier said than done and there have been many delay and scheduling experts who have found out the hard way after having their opinions rejected entirely by a tribunal. Some experts set out on the path to failure right from the start by selecting a delay methodology that is either too complicated or is simply inappropriate. Whatever approach is adopted, it is essential that it allows a tribunal to understand how the expert has reached their conclusion as to the critical path and how the impact has been determined, having regard to the available factual evidence. Where there is conflicting factual evidence, the expert should give the tribunal alternative opinions depending upon its findings of fact and not seek to decide facts for the tribunal.

What do you think the future of dispute resolution looks like in a post-coronavirus world?

I would think that the main types of dispute resolution will continue as before in terms of their respective popularities. I have no doubt, however, that online hearings are here to stay even when covid-19 is a distant memory.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Mark Dixon is an “excellent and very reliable expert”, praised for his “hands-on” approach to contentious proceedings across the construction and engineering sectors.

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 major 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 disputes up to US$1.2 billion on contracts up to US$2.5 billion within wider projects up to US$17 billion in value.

He specialises in large international oil and gas, marine, and industrial sector projects. He 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 500 cases. Mark is listed in the RICS, ICE, CIArb, TeCSA, RIBA, CIC and CLG panels of adjudicators and the RICS, CIArb, HKIAC, AIAC, 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 singled out for his excellence in high-value valuation disputes across a range of sectors, including oil and gas. Sources note, “His reports are excellent: well written, clear, thorough, and reach sensible results.”

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 major 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 disputes up to US$1.2 billion on contracts up to US$2.5 billion within wider projects up to US$17 billion in value.

He specialises in large international oil and gas, marine, and industrial sector projects. He 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 500 cases. Mark is listed in the RICS, ICE, CIArb, TeCSA, RIBA, CIC and CLG panels of adjudicators and the RICS, CIArb, HKIAC, AIAC, 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. He has been involved on contracts up to US$11 billion as part of wider projects up to US$30 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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