Richard Boulton QC
Office:
8 Salisbury Square
8th Floor
EC4Y 8BB
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+20 7520 4801

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Richard Boulton QC is the chair of Berkeley Research Group (UK) Ltd. He is a chartered accountant and barrister who advises clients on strategic, regulatory, economic, accounting, and valuation issues, with particular expertise in the assessment of complex damages. He has been engaged in over 200 litigations, including many of the UK’s largest commercial disputes, and has led several major fraud investigations. He has given oral evidence on approximately 50 occasions in the English High Court, the Copyright Tribunal and the European Commission (Competition Directorate), and before many international arbitration tribunals. He has also co-written a best-selling business book on strategy.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

Before coming to the Bar, I spent 20 years at Arthur Andersen, including three years as the number-two executive worldwide. During that time, and at leading expert consulting firms since then, I have built extensive experience as an expert on damages.

Since 2004, I have also been practising as a barrister specialising in commercial litigation. I was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011. I have cross-examined more than 50 experts across a range of professional disciplines.

HOW DID YOU START DOING EXPERT WITNESS WORK?

As a new manager in Arthur Andersen in 1985, I was seconded to the litigation services practice in New York office. The forensic accounting industry was much more developed in the US at that time, so when I returned to London I was one of the very first accountants in the UK with substantial experience in major disputes.

WHAT WAS YOUR BIG BREAK?

I was lucky to have instructing solicitors who trusted me to give oral evidence in the High Court when I was still in my 20s. I was cross-examined for three days, which remains my longest cross-examination. In those days, witnesses stood to give evidence. I had a sore back for weeks!

I was then instructed as the damages expert for Argyll on its dispute with Guinness arising out of the Distillers acquisition. That was a very high-profile case, which introduced me to many of the best-known figures at the Bar.

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED AS A BARRISTER THAT IS RELEVANT TO EXPERT WITNESS WORK?

As an expert, you think that the case revolves around your evidence! As a barrister, I have realised that the expert evidence is only one piece of the puzzle, and often fitted into the last afternoon of the hearing when everyone is tired. The expert needs to focus on the big picture issues that matter to the tribunal and needs to explain them succinctly and clearly.

WHAT QUALITIES WOULD YOU SAY MAKE A GOOD EXPERT WITNESS?

A good expert listens carefully to the question and answers it concisely and clearly. He or she must also be robust enough to defend their views under fire.

A good expert is also objective and owes his or her duty to the tribunal. This is not only at the hearing: a good expert gives independent advice to his or her clients from the outset. Sadly, far too many experts are little more than an advocate for their client’s case. The biggest challenge for international arbitration tribunals is making sure that they can identify the partisan experts.

AS CHAIRMAN OF BERKELEY RESEARCH GROUP, HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE FIRM STANDS OUT AMONG COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?

The most important competitive advantage for an expert services firm is the quality of the experts. At BRG we have a good blend of academic expertise and real-world experience. Our experts are typically hands-on and supported by high-quality staff. Finally, we emphasise the need to be independent: that is the only way to maintain a reputation over decades.

WHAT WILL BE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF ARBITRATION PRACTITIONERS?

For experts, the greatest challenge is managing to retain their independence in the face of increasing pressures from clients, many of whom do not have an appreciation of the requirements of the role.

For tribunals, the challenge is to develop sufficient expertise to be able to distinguish between the independent and partisan experts.

LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Managing a transition to the Bar from a senior role in accountancy, and achieving some success in both spheres.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Expert Witnesses

Richard Boulton is the chairman of Berkeley Research Group (UK) Ltd. He is a chartered accountant and barrister who advises clients on strategic, regulatory, economic, accounting and valuation issues. He has been engaged in over 250 litigations, including many of the UK’s largest commercial disputes, and has led major fraud investigations. He has given oral evidence on approximately 50 occasions in the English High Court, Copyright Tribunal, and European Commission (Competition Directorate) and before many international arbitration tribunals. He has also co-written a best-selling business book on strategy.

Mr Boulton was previously the global head of finance and accounting services of a major expert services and consulting firm, which included the forensic accounting, damages and intellectual property, financial services and health care practice areas.

Mr Boulton spent 20 years with Arthur Andersen – the last 11 years as a partner. He spent three years as the number-two executive, responsible for over 70,000 people worldwide. His broader experience included several global leadership positions; 15 years of client work as a consultant on financial and economic issues, particularly in the media and energy sectors; and substantial experience as an expert in major commercial litigation.

Mr Boulton has expertise in multiple jurisdictions. For four years, he spent half his time in the United States (principally Chicago and New York). He has led major client assignments in the United States (Seattle, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, New York, Minneapolis), Eastern Europe, the Bahamas, the Middle East, Libya, India and Japan.

WWL says: The “tremendously talented and quick” Richard Boulton QC is “an obvious pick as an expert witness” in arbitrations, according to interviewees.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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