david hornby

"Role" means more than job description as the valuer, being a professional, has a wider responsibility to the community at large. Such responsibility is over and above a simple contractual duties between the valuer and client. Rather, it is the image created by the words "profession" and "professional". In this context there is a special bond between members of the profession and trust from the public. This recognises:

Duty includes the valuer's assessment of market value as being completely objective, that is, "without fear or favour". From the performance of the members of the profession the public either acquires or loses faith in the profession. When the public loses faith it is difficult to promote the valuer as a professional. This is shown (somewhat unfairly) with the image problems suffered by real estate agents and used car salesmen.

This special duty has been recognised in the courts as follows:


He must give the impression of impartiality. He should avoid the suggestion that he is in any sense an advocate for the party by whom he is called - Sheehan J, "The valuer as a witness", AIV News, June 1983, 17.


The opinions of skilled witnesses are admissible whenever the subject is one on which competency to form an opinion can only be acquired by a course of special study or experience. The expert must be skilled by special study or experience, but the fact that he has not acquired his knowledge professionally goes, merely to the weight to be given to the evidence, not to its admissibility - Sheehan J, "The valuer as a witness", AIV News, June 1983, 17.


.. it is generally recognised that a land agent who has effected a sale of a property and whose commission may be dependent on the granting of consent to the sale, is not competent to appear before a Land Sales Committee or before the court as valuer in respect of that particular property...the evidence of valuers having an indirect interest in the transaction must, notwithstanding their wide experience, be subject to the most critical examination - Archer J, Mountney and Young, [1947] NZLR 436, 445.


The valuer when giving evidence should avoid the following frustrated comment of Lord Campbell: Really this confirms the opinion I have entertained, that hardly any weight is to be given to the evidence of what are called expert witnesses; they come with a bias on their minds to support the causes on which they are embarked - Tracy Peerage (UK), (1843).


The role of the valuer is becoming more sophisticated as real estate finance and the controls on development become more sophisticated.


In sale (purchase) leaseback finance which recognises that the accumulation of low return assets by large companies and government departments is wasteful investment. Further expansion of commerce, retail, and industrial investments require more efficient use of assets and resources which can be better achieved with sale (purchase) and leaseback finance.


Trust and superannuation funds particularly, institutional funds such as those managed by insurance companies are a vital part of Australia's real estate investment. Such institutions are becoming more important as providers of development funds. As workers' wages and disposable income increase there is a greater demand for pension and superannuation investment trust funds. Taxation advantages and a zero debt service provide such funds with a comparative advantage over the private investor.

See ethics – valuation