CBVs and Legal Matters
In this article, we discuss some of the ways a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) is often asked to assist in various legal matters.
CBVs and Litigation
In litigation, CBVs are often involved as either independent “expert witnesses” or non-independent litigation consultants.
- An expert witness is an opinion witness of the court. An opinion witness does not have direct involvement in the matter that is before the proceeding until after the incident occurred, and is relied on to provide an opinion on the matter based on their specific expertise. This is different from a fact witness, which is a person who has direct involvement in the matter.
- An expert is a person with specialized skills, knowledge, experience, or training in a specific subject matter area that is pertinent to the legal proceeding. To be an expert witness, the expert must be clear of any conflicts.
- Prior to becoming an expert witness, the expert prepares an expert report to be used as evidence in litigation. Experts must be accepted by the court and qualified as an expert witness at the time of trial to testify in a proceeding related to matters of their specific expertise.
- An expert witness must be independent and objective, and it is their duty to assist the court impartially on matters relevant to their area of expertise.
CBVs as Expert Witnesses
CBVs are regularly relied on in legal proceedings to assist in the following areas:
- Disputes where a business valuation is required;
- Dispute-related matters such as shareholder, intellectual property, contract, and matrimonial disputes;
- Quantification of economic/ financial losses; or
- Other conclusions of a financial nature.
A CBV may be asked to prepare an independent written report, which will be entered as an exhibit in litigation. This report is known as an “expert report”, which is a written communication containing a conclusion as to the quantum of financial loss, or any conclusion of a financial nature in the context of litigation or a dispute, prepared by an expert acting independently. In situations where the fair market value of a business or asset/liability is required, an expert report may contain a valuation conclusion.
A CBV may also prepare a limited critique report, which has the purpose of commenting on another expert’s report but does not include a separate financial conclusion. In a limited critique report, comments are provided with respect to the approach and techniques used and calculations in the original report, subjective matters such as the selection of discount rates, and whether the original report is suitable for the purpose at hand.
CBVs as Litigation Consultants
A CBV can also assist clients in litigation matters as a litigation consultant. In this case, the CBV will act as an advisor to legal counsel to promote the interests of their client. In this situation, a CBV is not considered independent, and would not be able to act as an independent expert witness during the trial or in other future litigation on this matter. In this role, a CBV generally acts as an advisor to legal counsel, will provide advice, support their client in various processes, and may advocate on their client’s behalf. Because certain valuation principles and topics are often subject to interpretation and professional judgment, the consultant is often relied on to assist the client to advance their own position in the litigation process. The litigation consultant can assist with such issues as strategy and cross-examination. A CBV acting as a litigation consultant is not independent and will not be required to testify. In some situations where a CBV is engaged as a litigation consultant, the CBV may be covered by litigation privilege.
CBVs and Family Law
CBVs are regularly involved in family law matters. CBVs are most often involved in assisting in valuation determinations related to the division of property on marriage breakdown and the determination of income for spousal or child support purposes.
If you have any questions regarding how a CBV can assist you in legal matters, please contact a member of our Financial Services Advisory Team (FSAT) team.
NOTE: This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact a lawyer to discuss the legal implications discussed in this article further.