When a couple separate, the assets of the two will need to be valued and this will often include property. A report will need to be prepared by an RICS Registered Valuer who will determine the market value of the property at a given date.
This can be either for use in relatively informal settlements between the parties or for use in more formal court proceedings and would be governed by the RICS Red Book guidance in either case and often Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998 (the set of rules governing the procedure of the several courts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland).
It is most common for each side to the dispute to instruct their own solicitor in the first instance. The solicitors will then look to select a Chartered Surveyor. The surveyor/valuer who is chosen will have to ensure that there a no conflict of interest in accepting a joint instruction and will have to carefully abide by the RICS Guidance.
The duty as an expert witness is to the Tribunal or Court to which the expert evidence is given which overrides any contractual duties to your clients. Your duty is to set out the facts in full and give truthful, impartial and independent opinions in respect to all relevant matters.
Trusts of Land (TOLATA) Valuations
The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 is most commonly utilised where a couple splits and the interest in an asset is disputed. This breaks down to the percentage each side should receive when the asset is sold or ownership transferred.
The Act can also force the sale of an asset. The law, in the case jointly held title assumes 50/50 ownership unless there is an agreement in place, such as a trust deed however when there is no written agreement and one of the parties claims a more substantial contribution to the property, such as initial mortgage deposit, general maintenance or improvements when the matter can be determined with the instruction of appropriately qualified solicitors.
In conjunction with this dispute a RICS Chartered Surveyor acting as a single joint expert, will need to value the asset/property and be instructed to produce a report and even give evidence in Court if necessary.