Questions to the nature of authorised experts (FAQ)
Independent and impartial
The term »expert« is not protected by law in Germany. As a result anyone can call himself an expert and operate on the market under this heading even if he is not adequately qualified for the job. The German legislator provides for public certification as a way of distinguishing between the real experts and the rest.
Public certification attests that an expert is exceptionally qualified in a particular field.
Publicly certified experts are also sworn to act independently and impartially. This means that their expert opinions can be relied on. What is more, anyone commissioning a publicly certified expert strengthens his own reputation and position by freeing himself from the suspicion of bias. It is precisely because publicly certified experts are independent and impartial that the rules of procedure require German courts to call them to the witness box when they are in need of an expert opinion.
By no means must publicly certified experts operate alone. They also work in teams, engineering companies, laboratories or test institutes. However, they are always personally responsible for the work they do as experts.
Constantly put to the test
Only experts with outstanding qualifications are publicly certified. In order to obtain public certification they are required to undergo an extensive examination procedure. And even after this their work is constantly subject to supervision by the state-appointed award bodies which keep a constantly updated list of publicly certified experts (in Germany primarily the chambers of architects, the chambers of crafts, the chambers of industry and commerce, the chambers of engineers, the chambers of agriculture). This also means that experts who have already received public certification can lose this status if they no longer come up to current standards. The trustworthiness and personal integrity of publicly certified experts also comes under scrutiny. Only then may they bear the much sought after seal of quality.
Experts, consultants and Expert determiners
Publicly certified experts do not just prepare expert opinions of facts and causes. They advise and are also responsible for regular inspections and monitoring; they analyse and evaluate. And they act as Expert determiner if two contracting parties have agreed to recognise the decision of an expert as binding. This ensures that legal certainty is achieved quickly. Such as when it comes to deciding whether the quality of a delivery or service meets with the terms of a contractual agreement or whether a plant has been installed in working order.
In view of the broad range of specialised areas there is no uniform fee schedule. Private clients and experts freely negotiate their contracts.
Confidence and certainty
An opinion from a publicly certified expert will lend certainty to entrepreneurial, court and private decisions. This is precisely what motivated the German legislator to introduce public certification. The fact that the state recognises the special qualifications of a particular expert and the special quality of his work makes it easier for companies, courts and consumers to make their choice and guarantees that an expert opinion will meet the high requirements placed on it.
The mark of quality in the expert profession
The demand for the services of an expert is increasing throughout Europe. Companies, courts and consumers who come to need the specialised knowledge of a German expert are faced with the core task of how to find one who is sufficiently qualified for the job.
The answer is simple. Anyone engaging the services of a publicly certified expert can expect to receive a service of high quality – in Germany and in the global arena alike.