New Act on Experts and Obligations of the Contracting Authority
The new Act on Experts (Act No. 254/2019 Coll.), effective from 1 January 2021, has brought many changes and shaken up the practice of providing expert advice. However, the new legislation is not only for us experts. It also makes demands on you, the client.
The law newly requires that the expert report be structured in great detail. The Implementing Decree (No. 503/2020 Coll.) devotes a total of 20 paragraphs to the regulation of expert reports. It also regulates in detail the obligation of you as the contracting authority. Specifically, it describes that the assignment of the expert report should include:
- the technical question posed by the commissioner of the expert report;
- an indication of the purpose for which the expert report is to be used; and
- facts disclosed by the assignor which, in its opinion, may affect the accuracy of the conclusion of the expert report.
In the decree, the Ministry emphasises the word "expertise": the question should be professional, i.e. not trivial. However, this also means that it should be a professional question and not a legal question (legal issues should be known to the court).
This gives you the opportunity to tell the experts officially important facts. You should therefore use this, because the new cooperation of the contracting authority and the expert in entering an expert question is appropriate. For example, it is important to warn us that "X, Y and Z" may affect the determination of the amount of damage.
If you do not take the opportunity to disclose the relevant facts, the expert is obliged to make note of this in the report.
Furthermore, the expert's fee must be newly agreed in writing with the client (an e-mail will suffice). This must occur before the expert work begins and cannot depend on the outcome. That is what the law says.
The new expert legislation also requires more professional performance (from the contracting authority and from the expert) in other places. I expect that the differences in the quality of reports between experts will become even greater, which is good for the whole industry, as the writing of reports will become more professional.