Expert Witness

Expert Witness

As Paul Ruffles is highly regarded as a technical expert within the lighting world, he is often called on to provide expert reports and advice in lighting disputes. These can be highly complex involving issues of design responsibility, component failure, compliance with legislation or interpretation of briefs or professional guidance.

Trips and falls

We have been involved in several cases where people have tripped or fallen in low-light environments. These have included stairs in a night-club, a hotel garden at night and a leisure centre car park at night

Fitness for purpose

We were appointed independent joint-expert by the court in a case between a contractor and a lighting manufacturer involving the fitness for purpose of a luminaire for the installation. The investigation included the careful analysis of the meaning and intent of a number of European Standards and the way the manufacturer and two independent national test-houses had interpreted them. The expert report we produced was used as the basis of a court settlement of the dispute.

Design/patent infringements

We were appointed to investigate a claim over the marketing by one company of a product that was very similar to one manufactured by a UK lighting company. We examined the two products in detail to provide evidence of the way the two products compared in their use of materials and technical characteristics, as well as simple comparisons of appearance and function.

Lighting causing burns

This was a case where a light within an exterior lighting installation caused burns to a member of the public. The owner of the lighting had then to both pay compensation and turn off part of the lighting system. The owner sought redress from the lighting system’s original designers. When this was not forthcoming, they acted through the courts to recover money and to seek damages. We acted as expert witnesses in this case and carried out extensive thermal and lighting trials on site and a technical investigation into burn thresholds for various types of materials used in the construction of the lights. The result was a report that was used in out of court negotiations between the lighting system’s owners and the designers.

Dispute over lighting levels, London

We were called in to act as independent experts in a dispute between the landlords of a large complex of inter-linked office buildings in the City of London and some of their tenants. The dispute revolved around two issues: whether the luminaires were suitable for use in offices where there was widespread use of computer screens and whether the lighting level in the office spaces met the levels set out in the lease. We carried out extensive surveys of the lighting system and witnessed lighting tests carried out in some of the spaces. This resulted in a series of reports about the various issues raised by the tenants.

Modern art gallery installation

We were asked by a Local Authority to investigate failures of part of the main lighting in a large contemporary art gallery. The gallery had only been open for a few years before a component failed. The manufacturers put it down to a random failure, but two identical components failed shortly afterwards. As is so often the case in these situations no one involved in the project would take responsibility for the failures. We were appointed to carry out an independent investigation into the failure to see why it had happened, whether anyone was to blame and ways forward to secure a safe working system.