A new consolidated property tribunal came into existence today with a single set of procedural rules aimed at simplifying the process.
The First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber – which combines the Residential Property and Agricultural Land Tribunals together with the adjudicator to HM Land Registry – began work today.
The chamber will handle some 12,000 cases a year. It is headed by the new chamber president, Siobhan McGrath, who will be supported by two principal judges and 19 salaried judges.
It will deal with a wide range of property disputes, from private sector residential rents, residential leasehold, agricultural and land drainage disputes and cases referred by the chief land registrar.
HMCTS said the change is designed to provide a single forum for disputes to be resolved in an ‘accessible and user-friendly environment’.
A single set of procedural rules have been introduced today, replacing the seven sets of rules that previously covered the chamber jurisdictions.
HMCTS said that the chamber’s management board will be ‘looking for opportunities for efficiencies and better ways of working’. As part of that, it is expected that some judicial members can be cross-ticketed to sit in other jurisdictions within the chamber.
McGrath said: ‘The chamber will provide a one-stop service for a whole range of residential and agricultural property disputes. We hope also to develop forms of alternative dispute resolution, building on existing work in the chamber on mediation.’
Jonathan Smithers, chairman of the Law Society’s conveyancing and land law committee, said: ‘We are broadly supportive of anything that will make the process and easier to navigate for both solicitors and clients.’