Aviation insight & expert witness

Due to the complex nature of the aviation sector in general, and air navigation services in particular, APUS provides non industry professionals with a depth of knowledge and rapid understanding of aerospace issues. 

Clients value our proven ability to translate technical jargon and complex operational concepts into reports, presentations and briefings suitable for use by non-specialists. 

Training in litigation procedures, and experience distilling key points from technical documentation such as aircraft accident reports and civil aviation regulations into practical briefing material for legal teams can provide valuable independent clarity and the basis for rapid resolution of disputes.  

Expert witnesses such as APUS can help courts not only understand complex information but offer a sense of objectivity grounded in specialist knowledge and credible experience.  

In a sample case study, our client was a law firm acting on behalf of aircraft insurer. An accident involving an aircraft had resulted insignificant damage to the airframe. As per international best practice, the national authority investigation report focused on why the accident happened and how similar events might be avoided in the future, rather than to identifying parties responsible and apportioning blame.However, this left difficulties for the insurers and their legal teams as they tried to determine how the costs for the damages should be allocated. 

In preparation for the first round of negotiations, APUS provided an initial independent assessment of the case, providing a lay person explanation of the accident report, highlighting key points, clearing up uncertainties and identifying areas for further investigation.  

This activity ensured that the client could enter the discussions with a stand-alone evaluation of the incident, enabling them to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of their case, and allow them to establish a negotiating position.  

Some years later, the case eventually went to court, so APUS was again engaged as an independent expert witness and instructed to opine on a range of questions covering the roles of a range of actors involved in the incident, and assess their actions against the context of International CivilAviation (ICAO) regulations and international best practice. 

The requirement was to deliver an Expert’s Report to set out the Expert’s opinion on specific matters within our technical expertise and experience, namely air traffic management operations and regulatory requirements. APUS recognises its responsibilities in this regard and highlighted to the client areas raised that were outside our area of expertise. 

The ultimate use of the report was to inform the court on matters outside its expertise and support the judge’s decision making in order to resolve the dispute it had before it. 

In addition to supporting the work of the court, the report also informed the legal team on aviation technical issues and regulations, which once again enabled them to determine the strength of their legal case. 

Although engaged by one of the legal teams involved, theExpert’s principal duty was, as always, to the court over and above any duty owed to the instructing client. 

The case ultimately did not require the expert to appear asa witness in court, however it is a facility that is available to clients. 

Courts expect reports and associated materials to be delivered in a standard format, providing a concise statement of the facts, and declaring any assumptions made, source materials referenced, analysis undertaken, and reasoning followed to generate the ultimate conclusions. The report also needs to comply with appropriate legal requirements. 

Although the report may deal with very technical matters every effort is made to ensure it contains no unexplained jargon or acronyms and is expressed in a way that can be fully understood by an intelligent lay person.  

To ensure compliance and continuous professional development, John Swift has undertaken formal training in the areas of report writing, court familiarisation, cross examination, and civil law procedure. 

Whilst this formal training has been undertaken in anEnglish law context, APUS has experience supporting clients, courts and tribunals in Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia. 

APUS can support legal and business due diligence processes by providing access to over 30 years’ experience in the aviation sector covering topics such as Air Traffic Management, airport operations, ICAO regulations and international best practice, civil/ military cooperation, air traffic systems and emerging technology, market landscape and competition, and procurement and bidding activities.

Case studies

APUS provides organisations with rapid access to rare experience, unrivalled skills and
international knowledge. APUS provides organisations with rapid access to rare experience,
unrivalled skills and international knowledge.
“Working with APUS as part of a business recovery team, I witnessed the huge impact made from day one through close engagement with the client to gauge and shape expectations, and in the control room itself to substantially raise the professional standard of operations.”

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