Brady Solicitors’ Matthew Wayman looks at some of the key changes you need to be aware of when dealing with the First-tier Tribunal (FTT).
Since July 2013 we have been busy at Brady Solicitors trying to remember that we need to refer to the LVT as the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Whilst it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, the new name is just one of a number of changes arising from the government’s shake-up and unification of the tribunal system. Matthew summarises some of the most relevant aspects in the latest Brady Solicitors briefing note.
The power to strike out a party’s case – Rules 8 and 9
One new power that should encourage attention to detail and good behaviour is the FTT’s ability to strike out all or part of a case on the basis of non-compliance or if it considers it won’t succeed. If the FTT feels that this non-compliance is wilful then it can refer the case to the Upper Tribunal, which has the power to issue contempt proceedings and sanction fines or even imprisonment.
Our view? These enhanced powers should help to ensure that weak cases and cases which have, in effect, been heard before are struck out at an early stage and costs kept to a minimum. The powers also create a greater emphasis on complying with the practice directions as serious failings may prove fatal. Time will tell how readily judges use these strong powers.
No cap on recoverable costs – Rule 13
As highlighted in our earlier blog, the FTT has lifted the £500 cap on costs and introduced the power to make unlimited wasted costs orders against representatives. Also, under the LVT rules, a cost order could be made against a party if they were found to be acting frivolously, dishonestly or unreasonably. This has now been simplified to those who have acted ‘unreasonably in bringing, defending or conducting proceedings…’.
Our view? This has the potential for some very large costs orders and should – we hope – deter the vexatious litigant from pursuing a pointless path.
We will be keeping a close eye on how acting “unreasonably