10 October 2018

Andrew-Flower-pic2Andrew Flower recently joined Haberman Ilett as partner and is leading the firm’s expansion into Europe with the launch of our Paris office.  In this edition of our ‘Spotlight on…’ series, Andrew shares some insight into his extensive experience in arbitration, as well as some of his perspectives on arbitration in Europe specifically.

Andrew has over 25 years’ experience in international arbitration, of which almost 20 years have been spent wholly or partly based in Paris.  He believes that working in arbitration requires practitioners to be particularly culturally sensitive. “Those who are successful in arbitration in locations like Paris are adept at bending their mind to the broad mix of cultures associated with it,” says Andrew, “there are often clashes in cultures and legal systems which need to be expertly navigated.”

In his career Andrew has participated in over 150 cases, visiting places including Congo Brazzaville, Japan, Canada, Poland, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore and Brisbane, Australia, where he gave evidence for just 35 minutes (albeit following 18 months’ work).  “In our line of work it’s very important to maintain the confidentiality of our cases and clients, so it’s difficult to share much about what I do,” Andrew says.  But he is very clear about the responsibility of the expert witness in an international arbitration.  “Our key role is to educate the Tribunal,” he explains.  “It comes down to telling them why I’ve come to the answers I’ve come to.  And why my answers are to be preferred over those of the other expert. It’s also the expert’s responsibility to explain to the Tribunal the reasons for the differences between our two conclusions, if not to bridge that gap.”

Andrew has been cross-examined on his evidence on many occasions before Tribunals around the world.  He has also been involved in witness hot-tubbing (where both experts give evidence and are cross-examined concurrently) more than a dozen times.  Andrew has observed a trend of increasing use of hot-tubbing, which he welcomes, but he sees room for improvement.  “There needs to be more consistency in how hot-tubbing or other forms of expert conferencing is conducted, as well as in what’s expected from the experts’ meeting,” suggests Andrew, “there are often missed opportunities for assisting the Tribunal in identifying the difference between the experts.”

Since Paris and London are the two critical centres in European arbitration, we are excited about how having teams who work seamlessly between the two cities will augment the support we can provide to our clients.  As Andrew explains, “being able to replicate the operations of many of Europe’s leading law firms gives Haberman Ilett a real advantage in the arbitration space.” 

If you would like to know more about Andrew, please read his profile here.

By Rosalind Page, Associate