Dispute resolution is a necessary feature of commercial property, including in construction and between landlords and tenants. Party walls, technical due diligence surveys, service charge allocation and dilapidations can all raise disputes. In any dispute, TFT provides versatile and well-informed support to resolve them.
What kind of dispute resolution is right for me?
Alternative dispute resolution is an efficient, timely and cost-effective option to resolve property disputes. Alternative dispute resolution methods are increasingly encouraged by the courts too, which means a risk of possible costs sanctions on those who fail to engage properly with it.
TFT can act as a third party or dispute resolver. We also advise our clients on a range of alternative dispute resolution methods to reach the right outcome in a timely and efficient manner. These include:
Dispute resolution assistance:
- Neutral evaluation
Dispute resolution decisions:
- Expert determination
- RICS dilapidations dispute resolution scheme
- Party wall third surveyor
This is how those dispute resolution methods work:
Mediation: This involves a third-party mediator assisting 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 arms-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 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.
Expert determination: In this model of ADR, the parties appoint an independent expert, who is well versed in the nature of the dispute, to provide a binding determination that 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 is also empowered to gather his or her own evidence and to use their 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. An 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. Further reading of the papers here:
Adjudication: Statutory adjudication of construction disputes is 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. Further reading here.
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.