Peter McCrea FRICS is a Surveyor Member of the Upper Tribunal, Lands Chamber. He was previously a Chartered Surveyor in private practice for 25 years where his roles included Arbitrator, Independent Expert, Expert Witness, APC assessor and a member of RICS governing council.

“The Surveyor Member role is rather unusual; we are full-time salaried judicial office holders without any formal qualification in law, but crucial to the Lands Chamber’s functioning as an expert Tribunal.

“I am based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London where most of our cases are heard. The Tribunal work also takes me round the country for hearings and site inspections and I can work from home. I work with a small group of colleagues which fosters a friendly and collegiate ethos and there’s always an opportunity to discuss complicated issues and share views.  

“The Lands Chamber deals with property disputes at both first instance and appellate level. It’s busy, but the balance of time spent in hearings and time for preparation and decision writing allows me the opportunity to think carefully about difficult valuation problems, knowing that my conclusions may provide a precedent for many other cases. 

“I often hear cases alone, especially when the issue between the parties is purely one of valuation. When the law is also in dispute, I sit with a judge, as an equal partner on the tribunal, not as a technical assistant or assessor to the 'proper' judge. We both decide the case, and we both write the decision.

“When I was appointed to the Tribunal I was concerned that the work might not be as varied as in private practice. That reservation proved completely wrong – our jurisdictions and the subject matters that they cover are extremely diverse.

“While hearing a case the Tribunal becomes an expert in a wide range of often esoteric fields, many of which the average surveyor in practice would never encounter. In the last few years I have had to become familiar with the operation of combined-cycle gas fired power stations, forward buying in the electricity wholesale markets and how mobile phone networks operate.  

“The surveyor Member brings special expertise in the assessment of valuation evidence and an understanding of the property market. We have stood in the witness box ourselves in former careers, and bring our experience in practice to bear when assessing the reliability and credibility of expert witnesses.

“I have found the role fascinating, challenging and rewarding in equal measure, and I’m sure you will too.”