Charrett, D. and Potts, A.E. (2012). International In-House Cousel Journal, Vol 5, No 19, Spring 2012, 1


Forensic engineering is the application of the art and science of engineering in the jurisprudence system, requiring the services of appropriately qualified and experienced professional engineers. Forensic engineering may include investigation of the physical causes of accidents and other sources of claims and litigation, preparation of engineering reports, testimony at hearings and trials in administrative or judicial proceedings, and the rendition of advisory opinions to assist the resolution of disputes affecting life or property. Forensic engineers may also be required to give evidence to a tribunal as to the cause and reasonable options for replacement or repair.

This paper outlines the services that forensic engineers can provide, and emphasises the importance of their early and appropriate selection and engagement by the relevant legal team. A distinction is made between the roles of "clean" and "dirty" experts, and the need to clearly define the desired role to be undertaken by the expert. The responsibilities of corporate counsel in ensuring that appropriate information and support is provided to forensic engineers are highlighted. Examples are given from some case studies.

The issues of the time and cost of forensic engineering services are discussed in the context of how these can be appropriately managed by corporate counsel. The tools available to forensic engineers to manage and report on their activities are noted, with particular reference to "CTRs" – schedules of the cost, time and resources required for the defined scope of the identifiable components of the required tasks.