Tim Allen specialises in disputes taken to arbitration and he has acted as expert in international arbitration proceedings brought under ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, ICSID and AAA rules, as well as disputes in the English High Court and Criminal Court, the Competition Appeals Tribunal, and the US Courts (state and federal). He has testified on over 45 occasions. He has been involved in disputes arising from breaches of contract, acquisition disputes and claims arising out of investment treaties in a broad range of industries, including mining, oil and gas, utilities, telecoms, financial services and manufacturing.
What attracted you to a career in arbitration?
I first became involved in arbitration claims when I was working in New York in the early 1990s. I enjoyed the focused nature of the proceedings and was impressed with the quality of the tribunal, as well as their decision.
How has your previous experience of setting up the first UK-based forensic accounting boutique helped you in your current role?
Running my own boutique firm involved a huge amount of responsibility and gave me experience across the full spectrum of the business including recruitment, risk management, financial management and human resources, as well as the usual roles of practice development and performing the work. This gave me invaluable insight into, and understanding of, the operation of a whole practice. The reputation of the firm rested on performing good quality work.
What can expert witnesses do to help tribunals understand the reasons for the gaps between different quantum figures they propose?
To help narrow the gap between quantum figures experts should proactively support the preparation of joint expert reports, summarising the key areas of difference and the reasons for the difference (often being differences in instructions), witness conferencing of experts to explore the differences, and the response to written questions from the tribunal aimed at isolating the reasons for the differences.
Do you have any tips for counsel on how to use an expert team effectively?
Work closely with the expert in understanding their opinions, and designate a member of the legal team to have responsibility for the work of the expert and to fully understand it. Use the expert team effectively to prepare for the cross-examination of the expert appointed by the opposing party to the arbitration.
What makes PwC stand out from its competitors in the market?
PwC has a broad range of industry experience within the firm that can be employed to support the work of the damages expert, often by producing a joint expert report. The opinions of industry practitioners are often more authoritative and helpful to the tribunal than the use of generic data to support damages calculations. PwC also has a global network of offices whose individuals have forensic capabilities (which can be employed on a matter without having to travel to the location of documents or witnesses), as well as local language capabilities.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
We have an excellent team of directors at PwC who have testified and who will, I expect, take on more testifying roles as they transition to partner. I also expect to prepare more joint reports with industry experts. PwC also has a global team of experts in international arbitration who will work more closely together over the coming years.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
I would at some point like to transition to the role of arbitrator.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The only effective approach to cross-examination is by being extremely well prepared.