Case Studies

Case 1: Analysis of a ‘Formal Sample’

A client provided the portion of a ‘Formal Sample’ that had been served on him for analysis. About twelve months later I was asked to attend court and give evidence. As the hearing was about to start, I was asked by my client’s Counsel if I could explain the
differences between the results that I had obtained and those reported by the Regulator. I indicated that there wasn’t sufficient time to properly consider the differences or determine a possible cause. As the case progressed, the reason for the differences became very clear. It also became clear that there were a number of technical and scientific issues relating to the Regulator’s case that my client’s defence was not addressing. In my opinion, if they had been addressed, at an early stage, this case may not have progressed to court.

The Court found in favour of the Regulator.

Case 2: An agricultural arbitration
In this case, a tenant farmer had been served a notice to quit by the landlord. In the landlord’s opinion, the tenant was in breach of the tenancy agreement. Part of the landlord’s argument centred on the fact that land spreading activities sanctioned by the tenant had resulted in breaches of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Regulations and, had caused damage to the land through the build-up of excessive levels of heavy metals. I conducted a desk study and produced a report for presentation at the arbitration hearing that demonstrated the historic nature of the heavy metal contamination. While my investigation did reveal some breaches of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Regulations they were not considered significant. In addition to conducting an investigation and producing a report, I also assisted in the preparation of technical questions to be answered by the landlord’s experts, and, gave oral evidence.

The Arbiter found in favour of the tenant.

Case 3: A problematic sewage treatment plant
In this case, a package treatment plant serving a rural public house-restaurant had a history of producing a poor quality effluent, regularly failing a relaxed discharge consent. I was engaged by the landlord to investigate the cause of the poor performance and make recommendations to improve the plant’s performance. A load survey was conducted and the treatment plant was found to be significantly under- sized. An intensive maintenance and management plan was developed to bring this overloaded plant back within its relaxed discharge consent.

This is a short-term solution pending the installation of a properly sized treatment plant.

Case 4: A compensation claim between two utility companies
In this case, I was engaged by the claimant’s legal team to provide advice and interpretation, in an operational context, of witness statements relating to a flooding incident.

This case is on-going.
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