Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

Our dispute resolution team are highly experienced in their fields, be that in dilapidations, construction, party walls, technical due diligence, service charge, etc.

EXPERT WITNESS

We support parties involved in or contemplating litigation or the various forms of ADR outlined below, via expert witness appointments.

It is important when you are selecting an expert to assist a tribunal in a property or construction dispute, to consider not only the expert’s skills and up-to-date working knowledge but also the ability to communicate lucidly.

Our expert witness group meets these criteria and has many years of experience in providing full, honest and non-partisan opinions. Our experts have experience of producing and presenting evidence to various tribunals.

If you have a property or construction dispute that relates to building pathology, professional negligence, construction quality, M&E, dilapidations, or any of the services offered by TFT we would be delighted to assist.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

We take on appointments to act as dispute resolvers in various areas of property, landlord and tenant and construction.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is increasingly encouraged by the courts, with costs sanctions commonly imposed for failure to engage properly in ADR.   Notwithstanding the courts’ enthusiasm, ADR is usually an efficient, timely and cost-effective option to resolve property disputes.

Various ADR models are available which we categorise as follows:

Assistance

Mediation:  This is an increasingly popular method of dispute resolution whereby a third-party mediator assists the parties to resolve the dispute themselves.  Normally conducted over a single day the parties (and their advisers) meet in an environment controlled by the mediator to outline the dispute.  The parties then break away into separate rooms and the mediator moderates an arm’s length negotiation.  The mediator does not suggest settlement terms, this is left to the parties. 

Conciliation: If both parties prefer a more hands-on approach then a conciliator can be appointed who will generally interrogate and test the parties’ positions more vigorously.

Neutral evaluation: A neutral evaluation of a dispute can be a very useful tool to identify what an independent third party, having reviewed the evidence, considers to be an appropriate solution.  The evaluation is not binding on the parties, but may be persuasive.

Decisions

Expert Determination:  In this model of ADR the parties appoint an Independent Expert, somebody who is well versed in the nature of the dispute, to provide a binding determination which resolves the dispute.  There is generally no right of appeal.  The Independent Expert can receive representations from the parties (and this might be essential) but also is empowered to gather his or her own evidence and to use their own expertise to come to an appropriate determination.

Arbitration:  This form of ADR is sometimes referred to as private litigation.  The parties appoint an arbitrator who typically has background knowledge of the nature of the dispute.  Evidence is heard (either on a documents-only basis or at a hearing) and the arbitrator prepares an award (or a series of awards) based on that evidence, which settles the dispute.  Appeal is possible but only on very limited grounds.  The process is governed by statute (The Arbitration Act 1996 and the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010). 

Adjudication:  Statutory adjudication of construction disputes is now widely used to provide a temporary but binding resolution.  There are similarities to arbitration but timescales are generally short as the process is designed to facilitate cash flow and the progress of construction projects.

RICS Dilapidations Dispute Resolution Scheme:  This form of ADR, designed specifically for end of lease dilapidations disputes, combines features of neutral evaluation and expert determination to settle disputes quickly and economically.

Party Wall Third Surveyor: Our party wall surveyors are frequently named as the third surveyor in party wall awards.

Contact us to discuss the nature of your dispute, the ADR options and the availability of our dispute resolvers and expert witnesses.

jrowling@tftconsultants.com

Related People

Paul Spaven FRICS

Paul sits on TFT’s Executive Board as the Strategic Growth Partner and is the founding Partner of the Bristol office.

Neil Gilbert MRICS

Neil is a Partner in the Bristol office and heads TFT’s Dilapidations Working Group.

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