We have seen an increase in building disputes recently, mainly due to people making amendments to their properties during lockdown 1, 2 and 3.
Often if someone has an issue with a trader, they try to deal with the dispute themselves and have tried to sue, attempt to dispute the works or get them to do works, which should be in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that traders should carry out their services with reasonable care and skill. If they do not, the customer has the right to get them to do it again at the trader’s cost or receive a price reduction.
For a customer to prove the builder has not done the work to the required standard then they are normally required to obtain an expert report. An expert report is covered under the court rules, the court rules are known as the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), and a specific part of the CPR is Part 35.
We have found that people have been trying to get reports recently from supposed experts and then try and deal with the dispute themselves, then having failed with the dispute they come to us with their Part 35 report.
We need to inform people about Part 35 reports.
Here at White Collar Legal, we have been seeing these reports a lot lately and many are not compliant with Part 35. This is really concerning for us, and people coming to us have paid for these.
Part 35 is a report that is set out for the court, and not for the customer. It should include what has gone wrong and how those wrongs should be fixed. It may also include an expert opinion on what remedies the court should reward. These are being obtained by our customers before they come to us. They need to be expert reports, but a lot are not as they do not comply.
Part 35 reports should:
- Be addressed to the court and not to a customer
- Be independent and assist the court with a decision, and
- Comply with the requirements found in Part 35 of the CPR.
- Contain a statement of truth. (This should say that the expert understands their duty is to the court and not to the party instructing them, and that the report is of their own knowledge and opinion, and not what the customer says.)
And finally, with a Part 35 report, the court controls the expert evidence. You can’t actually use the expert without the court’s permission.
We want everyone to understand that the expert report you obtain needs to be compliant with Part 35.
Any questions or support with the above please email us at: [email protected] or phone 0151 230 8931. We can help with reviewing Part 35 Reports and preparing appropriate instructions to experts so they know the type of report they are to write.