Lawyer Monthly - August 2022

in more failures in many aspects of the property market both residential and commercial. The legal issues arising are becoming more complex, more expensive to deal with and less capable of providing what is required by both occupiers and owners. The mismatch between short-term occupation requirements by businesses and long-term capital requirements of developers and investors will make property more expensive to produce and property investment returns increasingly difficult to secure. Winning locations will be focused around or close to strong transport hubs, with property winners being those who can provide a quality product and avoid shortterm profiles. Winning property investors will be those who understand tenants as customers and provide a service that supports the occupying business but does not interfere with their ability to operate independently. There are some great experienced property investors and managers who can provide such facilities, but there are many who provide poor, depressing spaces that will drive more individuals to work from home. In addition to your role as a surveyor, you are also a practiced arbitrator and expert witness. Based on your experiences, can you offer any advice to new practitioners in these areas? Every case is different, but my experiences are as follows: Dispute Resolution (Arbitration and Independent Expert) Cases can be complex. It is important to read everything that is put to you and ensure both sides have a fair chance of putting their arguments forward. The art is determining what the issues are, understanding the arguments and making your decision on each one straightforward and understandable. In most cases, even when a party has lost, they accept the decision if they can see why they have lost. It is when reasons are fudged or poor that the parties to a dispute become frustrated and disappointed with the service. 16 AUG 2022 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM Of your many career accomplishments, is there one which you are most proud of having achieved? There are a number which I cannot separate, but the following are foremost in my mind: i. The success of Chase & Partners continuing to have a viable and exciting business after 27 years of trading; ii. My appointment as a visiting professor to Westminster University with 35 years of lecturing as a market-based contributor; iii. Becoming President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; iv. Becoming Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors; v. Becoming Chairman of the Saracens Multi-Academy Trust; vi. Having a wonderful and happy family despite all my external commitments. How does the work you are undertaking today draw upon the skills and experiences you have developed to date? As a property adviser to a number of long-standing clients, it is the breadth and detail of many years of trading and working at the coal face of the market that provides me with the advantage of imparting that knowledge and expertise to my client base – in particular, how to approach a negotiation and the basis on which the negotiation is undertaken benefits from many years of learning, often the hard way. So: keep matters as simple as possible; do not enter the arena; remain independent and have empathy with those involved – they all have a difficult job to do. Remember it is always the parties’ dispute and not yours as the dispute resolver; you are providing a service. Respond quickly, but ensure you think carefully before putting things down in writing. When preparing your decision, keep walking away from it and coming back and let your final draft settle for a few days before going over it again, as you will change a number of points of detail. The decision must flow, and the eventual answer must be a natural consequence of what you say. If the final decision is a shock which does not match up with reasoning, the decision is probably wrong Expert Witness Make sure that you have assessed the case and your professional opinion supports your client’s case. If not, you must not accept the instruction. Be well prepared and ensure what you say is backed up by the evidence. Understand your independence from the client and your duty to the court or tribunal. Being an expert witness is all-consuming, mentally draining and extremely challenging work. Do not take it on unless you are prepared to commit fully to the process and pressure. How do you measure your success? There is no single measure to success, but the following tend to be the benchmarks I apply: i. Sense of personal achievement; ii. Satisfaction of the team and client on the completion of an instruction that achieves its objectives as set; iii. The company secures its future for another year; iv. Staff receive good commissions and bonuses in addition to their salary; v. Surplus payments are available to pay Members; vi. Recognition by the market that we have a role to play. There is no single measure to success.

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