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Disciplinary Hearings

17 NOV 2021

Mr Charles Wilford FRICS and Gerald Eve LLP – 16 – 20 September 2021

Member: Mr Charles Wilford BSc, FRICS, [0083377] Banbury, Oxfordshire 

Firm: Gerald Eve LLP, London

The formal charge are as follows:

Mr Wilford

  1. During his involvement with the appeal to the Upper Tribunal of Merlin Entertainments v Cox:
    1. Following the decision of Gardiner & Theobald LLP v Jackson, he agreed that his evidence be treated as factual evidence, in an inappropriate attempt to avoid the requirement to disclose to the court that fee(s) owing to the Firm and/or himself were contingent on the success of the litigation.
    2. His actions at (a) above demonstrated a lack of integrity.

Contrary to Rule 3 of the Rules of Conduct for Members 2007

  1. You failed to carry out your professional work with due care and skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for the technical standards expected of you in that following the case of Gardiner & Theobald LLP v Jackson you gave evidence in the case of Merlin v Cox [2018] UKUT 0406 that was found by Sir David Holgate the President of the Upper Lands Tribunal to be in part of an expert nature, and did so whilst your were party to a conditional fee arrangement which had not been previously disclosed, and that in doing so breached the mandatory prohibition in the RICS Practice Statement on Surveyors acting as expert witnesses paragraph 10.1 that he should not undertake expert witness appointments on any form of conditional or other success-based arrangement”.

Contrary to Rule 4 of the Rules of Conduct for Members 2007, wef 1 January 2013.

Gerald Eve LLP

  1. During the Firm’s involvement with the appeal to the Upper Tribunal of Merlin Entertainments v Cox:
  1. Following the decision of Gardiner & Theobald LLP v Jackson, the Firm agreed that Mr Wilford’s evidence be treated as factual evidence, in an inappropriate attempt to avoid the requirement to disclose to the court that fee(s) owing to the Firm and / or Mr Wilford were contingent on the success of the litigation.
  2. Its actions at (a) above demonstrated a lack of integrity.

Contrary to Rule 3 of the Rules of Conduct for Firms 2007

  1. You failed to carry out their professional work with due care and skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for the technical standards expected of you in that following the case of Gardiner & Theobald LLP v Jackson the Firm agreed that Charles Wilford give evidence in the case of Merlin  v Cox [2018] UKUT 0406 that was found by Sir David Holgate the President of the Upper Lands Tribunal to be in part of an expert nature, and did so whilst the Firm was party to a conditional fee arrangement which had not been previously disclosed,  and that in doing so breached the mandatory prohibition in the RICS Practice Statement on Surveyors acting as expert witnesses paragraph 10.1 that Charles Wilford should not undertake expert witness appointments on any form of conditional or other success-based arrangement”

Contrary to Rule 4 of the Rules of Conduct for Firms 2007, wef 25 April 2017.

Finding

Mr Wilford: Charge one – not proved, charge two – proved

Gerald Eve LLP: Charge one – not proved, charge two – proved

Sanction:

Mr Wilford: Reprimand and fine of £2,000.00

Gerald Eve LLP: Reprimand and fine of £10,000.00

The Panel also made order to costs.