Dr. phil. Martin Pracher
Publicly appointed and sworn expert witness
Paintings – Sculptures – Valuables
Dr. Martin Pracher runs an office for art expertise in Würzburg and has been working for 20 years as expert for court, insurances, museums and private collections. His main area of expertise is the appraisal of paintings and sculptures, the research on authorship and provenance of artworks and the assessment of damages.
He is publicly appointed and sworn in by the Chamber of Commerce Würzburg-Schweinfurt as expert witness for damage assessment for paintings and sculptures, is 3rd member of board of the National Art Experts Association (Bundesverband öffentlich bestellter und vereidigter sowie qualifizierter Kunstsachverständiger e.V.), member of the working group art forgery and lecturer at the Julius Maximilians University Würzburg.
Appointment tenor: Damage assessment for paintings and sculptures
The appointment tenor “damage assessment” focuses on the value and on the condition of paintings and sculptures. What was the value of an artwork before the damaging event, what does the damage mean for the object and how does it affect it’s value after conservation?
VALUE – DAMAGE – LOSS
Just like a doctor, a lawyer or an official, the publicly appointed and sworn expert witness is subjected to confidentiality (according to German law § 203 ( 2 ) Nr.5 StGB).
All information and secrets entrusted to me will remain permanently under lock and key and will not be disclosed to third parties.
Publicly appointed and sworn experts
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 (appointed) 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.
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.
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.
Excerpt form the introduction to “Publicly appointed and sworn experts” of the IFS.