London Executive Aviation Ltd v Royal Bank Of Scotland Plc (2017)
In proceedings relating to interest rate swap agreements, the court refused permission for expert evidence to be called regarding suitability requirements and the risks associated with the products sold.
The claimant applied for permission to call expert evidence in proceedings relating to interest rate swap agreements.
The matters in which expert evidence was sought concerned suitability requirements, the risks associated with the products sold to the claimant and whether the products were suitable or potentially appropriate for it.
It was clear that the construction of relevant legal rules was a matter for the court. Therefore, an expert's opinion on what, for example, a conduct of business sourcebook rule meant was inadmissible. Further, expert evidence that amounted to no more than saying what the expert would have done in the same circumstances was of no value and should not be admitted, Midland Bank Trust Co Ltd v Hett Stubbs & Kemp  Ch. 384 applied. There could be no question of expert evidence being needed to expand on the risks relating to a product. Those would be apparent from their terms and could be explained, where necessary, by counsel. The key was whether expert evidence was justified on the application of the rules and their standards in the particular circumstances. In the instant case, it was unlikely to be helpful. The application of the rules would inevitably be very fact-sensitive. Any "expert" evidence would be unlikely to be evidence as to the implications of "a recognised expertise governed by recognised standards of rules of conduct", Barings Plc (In Liquidation) v Coopers & Lybrand (No.2)  Lloyd's Rep. Bank. 85 applied. The causes of action being asserted were deceit, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. No expert could helpfully express a view as to those matters in the instant case. Further, the CPR required the restriction of expert evidence to that which was reasonably required to resolve the proceedings and of the costs which might arise. The experts' fees and the potential lengthening of the trial were likely to increase the trial costs substantially. Any conceivable benefit would not be in keeping with the cost. Finally, the fact that the claimant might feel more comfortable with an expert to explain matters did not justify the making of an order (see paras 7-17 of judgment).
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