Family Law Valuations

When acting as an independent expert valuer for family law matters, it is vital that Members utilise strong risk management practices to ensure that they are adequately guarded against any potential claims.

This is important as family law matters can sometimes be acrimonious, resulting in valuers being subjected to unmeritorious claims. We have observed such claims that were accordingly withdrawn/dismissed, but still leaving legal defence costs to be covered by the valuers’ insurers.

Risk Management Practices – Retainer Letters  

As with other matters, a good risk management practice for Members in such matters is to use a retainer letter/agreement that has been drafted to mitigate claims risk. Members should consider including the following key elements in their own family law valuation retainer letter/agreement template: 

  • That the valuer’s appointment is pursuant to Family Law Rules with all work being prepared as if the valuer is giving evidence at a trial in the Family Court; 
  • That the valuer’s duty to the Court prevails over their duty to the party/iesand 
  • Accordingly, that the valuer is immune from any suit or claim from the party/parties in relation to the valuation work completed pursuant to the retainer.

API Sample Family Law Retainer Letters 

To assist Members undertaking valuations in this areathe API has the following sample retainer letters for use by Members: 

  • Updated API Family Law Independent Expert (Joint Appointment) sample retainer letter, which can be used when undertaking valuations as an expert valuer for two or more parties.
  • New API Family Law Independent Expert (Single Appointment) sample retainer letter, which can be used when undertaking valuations for a single party.

These sample retainers can be found at;

  1. Sample Family Law Retainer – single appointment
  2. Sample Family Law Retainer – joint appointment 

Important Notes:  

  • It is incumbent on the Members to conduct negotiations in relation to contracts/retainer agreements in accordance with their, and their corporate employers’, own risk management practices.
  • Please note that these are sample retainer letters for your reference only.
  • The API strongly recommends Members intending to utilise the sample retainer letters, to seek their own independent legal advice as to the applicability of the sample retainer letters for the task at hand.

If you have any questions, please contact apistandards@api.org.au.