Judge criticises two FMC witnesses

Wood mouldings supplier Winther Browne is considering taking legal action against Financial Management Consultants, whose expert witnesses were criticised by a High Court judge

A supplier to the DIY chain B&Q is considering taking legal action against its expert witnesses after losing nearly £1m in a High Court battle with its IT supplier.

Winther Browne, which supplies wood mouldings to the DIY market, is considering taking legal action against Financial Management Consultants (FMC), whose expert witnesses were criticised by a High Court judge recently.

In his judgment against Winther Browne, Judge Toulmin criticised FMC's co-chairman Keith Salmon for taking a "confrontational approach" to the litigation.

He said that expert witnesses should give "objective unbiased opinion" and be scrupulously independent, resolving as many contentious issues as possible before trial. He added that expert witnesses who adopt a partisan approach run the risk of inflating the costs of resolving disputes.

The judge stated that Salmon had "failed to conduct himself in the manner to be expected of an expert witness". He said this was not acceptable to the court and he was "unable to rely" on the independence of FMC's evidence.

In a statement, Winther Browne said, "We relied on FMC during the course of litigation . . . we are disappointed by the outcome of that litigation and we are seeking legal advice as to our entitlement to recover the cost of that litigation from FMC".

FMC is now in liquidation. Its assets and liabilities have been acquired from the liquidator by companies run by the former co-chairmen of FMC, Salmon and David Wilkins.

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