What is an Expert Witness?
An expert tree witness can be asked to provide independent, impartial, technical advice on an issue, to enable an informed solution. They often help courts to resolve issues, having an in-depth knowledge of the key issues. Their advice can ensure a proportionate response to a claim. Principal consultant Mark Chester is an accredited Cardiff University Expert Witness and has experience in Tree Preservation Orders, boundary disputes, tree valuations, planning permission and tree works. We can provide feasibility assessments, support mediation and produce technical reports.
How can an Expert Witness help you?
Whether it is a boundary dispute, an alleged breach of a Tree Preservation Order or a compensation claim following damage to a tree, we can help. Arboricultural consultant Mark Chester is accredited by Cardiff University and Bond Solon to provide Expert Witness support for court cases and tree disputes, including Tree Preservation Order breaches and compensation for tree damage.
The first step is to perform a feasibility assessment. This will dictate whether you have a case to fight and inform the process that should be followed to reach a positive solution.
Tree Report Evidence
Every case is different, but the feasibility assessment will highlight the needs of the case and the evidence required to ensure accurate representation. This evidence will then be collected and collated to allow us to present a viable and informed report that is detailed enough to stand up to cross-examination yet clear enough to be understood by the educated layperson.
Mark Chester is happy to attend your case at the courthouse. Mark has had specific training in cross-examination and has an excellent track record of successful courtroom witness cases.
Expert Witness Case Study
“Mark Chester gave evidence. He was a very impressive and authoritative witness.”
Mr J’s Defence Team
Mr J owns some land. Originally an industrial site, it has long-since been abandoned and is now covered by naturally colonising woodland. His neighbour owns part of the site. The local authority, seeking to protect the feature, made a ‘woodland’ Tree Preservation Order for the whole site. This protects the trees present at the time when the order was made, and those which have grown since. Mr J seeks to keep the site tidy, clearing fallen trees and branches.
Having a piece of machinery on trial, he was tidying fallen material and offered to help his neighbour with some tree work. He didn’t contact the local authority, as he considered the work was exempt, the trees being dead, dying or dangerous. Unfortunately, he didn’t take any photographs. The local authority, finding fresh stumps and pruning cuts, decided that he had breached the Tree Preservation Order, and began proceedings towards a prosecution. The burden of proof lay with Mr J to prove that the work was exempt. He needed some professional help.
During the first site visit following these developments, it was soon apparent that some of the trees were in decline. Cedarwood Tree Care surveyed all of the trees on the site over the following months and monitored their condition. We also advised Mr J not to tidy fallen material. If his explanation was correct, we would expect to see a build-up of fallen material. Over the coming months, we observed that an increasing number of the surveyed trees had died.
The local authority presented their evidence. We weren’t convinced that their case was strong and found that the evidence on site was in line with Mr J’s explanation. However, the case was pursued with some vigour and determination by the local authority. Cedarwood Tree Care was commissioned by the magistrates to provide a detailed expert report. This analysed the evidence presented by the local authority and details of what we had observed on a site over the subsequent months. The report ensured the magistrates would be informed in their decision-making. After a thorough three-day hearing (including more than three hours in the witness box for our expert witness), the magistrates concluded that there was no case to answer, dismissing the charges against Mr J.