Matrimonial disputes and divorces are often complicated and highly-stressful to handle and deal with, both for the two parties in its midst, and for their advisors. Coming to a ‘fair and balanced’ solution can be difficult, particularly in cases where large sums of money or high value assets are being contested. 

To ensure that the best solution is reached, and everything is continuing in as effective a manner as possible, it might be worth considering approaching a shadow expert. 

While the term may sound dubious, using a shadow expert is actually a fairly common practice that is most often utilised by a single party who wishes to ensure that their case is being handled to the best possible standard. 

Our blog will introduce the concept of a shadow expert, before discussing why you may need them, what they can do to help in matrimonial dispute cases, and much more.

What is a Shadow Expert?

The term shadow expert refers to a third party appointed to enter into an ongoing legal situation to provide insight and advice in an attempt to help resolve a dispute — either between a married couple or business owners. Rather than acting as an independent single joint expert, a shadow expert is considered to be an extension of the appointing party, and therefore is highly unlikely to give evidence in court. 

The role of a shadow expert is to assist whoever appointed them, in order to try to secure them the best possible result. They will advise on case strategy and technical knowledge with regards to their specific field. The difference between a shadow expert and other independent experts is that the independent expert is acting with a responsibility to the court — their role requires them to present only impartial evidence, and will not necessarily have the best interests of any single party.

Why Do I Need a Shadow Expert? 

Appointing a shadow expert to act on your behalf can improve the quality and efficiency of your case, provide you with an honest opinion with regards to the goings on of your case (no matter who it may upset), and much more. 

A shadow expert is able to support your case on multiple different levels. They can benefit you in the following ways and more: 

    • Clarity: Ensure that any technical matters/details will be presented appropriately. 
    • Candidness: Provide honest advice to your instructing solicitors. 
    • Alter Approach: Using expertise and knowhow, a shadow expert can often inform and reshape the approach of your case.
    • Manage the Costs: A unique aspect of a shadow expert is that they are only instructed on specific sets of tasks, rather than supporting the whole case. This means that their cost can be much better managed and prioritised.
    • Less Restricted: By acting uninhibited, they are significantly less restricted by time frames or other factors that could apply to other experts in the litigation process. 
    • Assist with the Single Joint Expert: The shadow expert will be able to assist in preparing instructions to the independent expert. They will also be able to help collate relevant questions following receipt of the Single Joint Expert’s report. 

How Can a Shadow Expert Help in Matrimonial Dispute Cases? 

The ideal scenario for all parties in a matrimonial dispute or divorce case is that all issues can be resolved amicably through clear dialogue between the two parties involved. However, in some cases this is impossible. If you’re in this scenario, a shadow expert can act to ensure that your case remains as watertight as possible — but how? Read on to find out more. 

When it comes to matrimonial dispute cases, there are generally three different levels a specialist will be able to operate on: 

  • A Single Joint Expert: Single joint experts are appointed jointly by both parties involved in the dispute as opposed to acting independently for only one side. The cost of a Single Joint Expert is generally split between the two sides. Courts often insist on using a Single Joint Expert to save costs.
  • A Party Expert: This level of expert acts on the behalf of only one spouse. They will be responsible only for that person’s side of the case and fees will also be covered by the one party.
  • A Shadow Expert: A shadow expert is most common in more substantial matrimonial dispute cases, where a Single Joint expert  has been appointed. Their role is to act independently and provide a partisan view of the role other experts may be having in the case. 

As mentioned, the perfect final result in any matrimonial dispute is for both sides to come to a simple resolution for their issues. However, this is uncommon. Therefore, a new, experienced set of eyes could be pivotal. There are a number of reasons for approaching a shadow expert to assist in your matrimonial dispute case as opposed to sticking with only your existing expert, this includes: 

Ensure Total Accuracy 

A shadow expert will have the experience and knowledge needing to conduct a series of thorough reviews of your case. They will be able to make sure that any and all technical material, data, and information is accurate, relevant, presented in a proper fashion, and 100% correct. 

Better Your Team’s Understanding 

No matter how highly recommended your Single Joint Expert may be, it is likely that their knowledge could have some holes. Your shadow expert is perfectly positioned to aid your existing team in the case. 

They can, utilising their wealth of experience, provide assistance and guidance to them throughout the case. This will ensure that you have a better, well-versed, and more well-rounded team supporting you. 

Minimise Mistakes

Something that your shadow expert can be vital for is, when reviewing the day-to-day of your case, ensuring that any unsupported or ill-prepared claims are not submitted. This will significantly strengthen your position. 

Review and Advise

A shadow expert approached to assist on a case can review any and all reports compiled by your current joint or party experts. They can analyse the ongoings of your case as well as the findings of the dispute. 

In addition to this reviewing of your case, they will also be able to utilise their years of training and case experience to provide advice on the potentially key next steps in your dispute. 

How A Shadow Expert Can Turn Your Case Around 

As we have outlined in this blog, instructing a shadow expert to support you in your matrimonial dispute will, while adding to the total legal costs, provide you with an invaluable alternative perspective. This new party assisting on your case could do wonders when it comes to ensuring a positive outcome. 

Shadow experts can be vital in a variety of cases. However, they can be particularly useful in a case where one of the parties involved has some concerns regarding the finances in a dispute. An independent expert can ensure greater accuracy, and when the difference between 90% and total accuracy is thousands of pounds, you want the best. 

Examples of such cases where a shadow expert can be particularly useful include if you have concerns regarding hidden assets, inflated or under-reported valuations, you need guidance with a case involving a significant sum of money, and more. 

If you find yourself in such a position, or you feel that instructing a shadow expert could transform your case and set you on a path towards a positive result, it’s important that you act today.

When it comes to seeking out an expert, you should be aiming to speak to specialists who have the requisite knowledge and experience. Inquesta’s team of Forensic Accountants are trained to the highest industry standards. This includes extensive knowledge when it comes to the investigation and presentation of important information and data — with a particular penchant for cases regarding financial irregularities in either commercial or matrimonial disputes. Having a forensic accountant in your corner can work wonders to ensure that you’re on the right path. 

An Inquesta shadow expert Forensic Accountant will pair meticulous attention to detail with years of training, experience, and skills to ensure that your case is running efficiently and effectively, and that your team of representatives are all performing to the best of their abilities. 

The Inquesta team has been operating in their fields for years, and boast a wide range of skills. For support with a variety of types of cases, you’re in the right place. Get in touch today!