Expert determination is a private process, involving an independent legal expert with inquisitorial powers who gives a binding decision on a dispute or a particular question referred for determination. It is particularly suited to technical disputes such as those relating to land valuation. It is, for example, frequently used in rent reviews.
Like arbitration, expert determination can deal with some or all of the issues in a dispute or the entire case. An expert can be more active in deciding the issues than is usually the case even with an arbitration. The expert will use his experience and expertise to deal with the case. The powers of the expert and the procedure to be used depend on what the parties agree.
An expert determination is usually done on a documents only basis and is often much faster than arbitration. It can be conducted based on the pleadings and expert reports and witness statements, depending on the nature of the issue. A hearing can be held where appropriate.
An expert determination is binding because of the agreement reached by the parties to confer jurisdiction on the expert. It is possible to provide that the determination is final and binding and thereby avoid the possibility of appeal. The parties decide whether or not the expert gives reasons for his decision.