Article Six fair rights... what's it mean really?

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    Article Six fair rights... what's it mean really?

    Hi.

    In practice, is it ever wise to complain about an unfair hearing?

    My LVT trial as litigant-in-person (no legal training) is adjourned after day one. My case is pretty involved, but I know it well, so I submitted a tabbed and indexed statement of case with skeleton argument when asked, but it seemed every point I made came as news to the panel.

    I face Counsel who kept me in a headlock while he could access evidence via a mobile device in the court from his client, and his client could give oral testimony that I heard for the first time - no evidence required in support, no prior witness statement or signed statement of truth. It felt like an ambush and it moved on leaving me saying, hang on a minute.

    I was ruled out of order mentioning I'd not received disclosures. I was ruled out of order trying to challenge the other side's evidence to be unreliable. I wasn't allowed to examine or re-examine my witnesses. Counsel had a field day.

    I kept cool, but offered finally to throw the towel in saying I seemed to be playing no useful part, and the Tribunal told me I had a right to a fair hearing and asked me to return for round two.

    I have prepared a list of concerns to write to the chairman, but worry this will only cheese him off given he said I had a right to a fair hearing.

    Should I (a)write, (b)raise my concerns at the start of day two, or (c)something else.
    Do not read my offerings, based purely on my research or experience as a lessee, as legal advice. If you need legal advice please see a solicitor.

    #2
    Originally posted by MrSoffit View Post

    My LVT trial as litigant-in-person (no legal training) is adjourned after day one.
    Why was it adjourned?

    Should I (a)write, (b)raise my concerns at the start of day two, or (c)something else.
    What you are witnessing is one of my biggest concerns with the LVT. They always seem determined to plough on, irrespective of how unjust the proceedings/hearing becomes. They seem very reluctant to adjourn or vacate hearings (in contrast to the County Court who seem quite happy to let you spend days preparing and then vacate a hearing because the applicant decides he can't make it, or reschedule when you've turned up but the other party doesn't because he didn't receive the notice!)

    I have been very unhappy with the written decisions in all 4 of my LVT cases. It has varied from what actually took place on every occasion. All County Court hearings are recorded and you can buy the transcript but not with LVT hearings.

    The only thing you can do really is ask for an adjournment if new evidence/arguments are submitted and accepted by the LVT. Ask that you have adequate time to prepare and submit rebuttal arguments/evidence. If it is refused ask the Chairman to record it in his notes and write your request up in the decision.

    When I was looking into the appeal process (to the Lands Tribunal at the time) the process looked completely flawed. The Lands Tribunal had no right to anything that was submitted to the LVT so unless it was actually recorded in the written decision then you were shafted. That is unless they are willing to give leave for appeal on an unsubstantiated claim which I doubt very much.

    You can make complaints but an appeal is the usual way of dealing with poor decisions or unfair hearings. Perhaps a letter of complaint, copied and sent recorded delivery, prior to the second hearing will help with any request for leave to appeal. There is also something called a judicial review which I don't know much about.
    I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

    Comment


      #3
      what happened at the ptr as both should have been clear what was required.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi, thanks for replies.

        The adjournment was purely because we ran out of time.

        I was directed at PTR to hand my disclosures letter to the respondent and he was told he had to supply. During directions I wrote to the Tribunal at each stage saying I hadn't received them. I also rang the office but was told to plough on and meet my own directions.

        Being an amateur, when I also didn't get any exchange of their documents before the final bundle stage, I just sent off my bundles with a letter pointing out I'd had no disclosures (their bundle came a few days later and that was the first time I saw their evidence).

        I have to say we (us flat owners) got the impression the Tribunal let Counsel rule on his terms. It would be nice to hear the panel make the decisions.

        Funny thing is, Counsel would make outrageous claims I knew were daft, but on procedural over-ruling, Counsel was God because who knows that stuff? I tried once saying "I object" and Counsel accused me of playing a famous TV lawyer. So what do you do? Raise your hand? Cough politely? Sulk?
        Do not read my offerings, based purely on my research or experience as a lessee, as legal advice. If you need legal advice please see a solicitor.

        Comment


          #5
          Counsel is probably right, the LVT is not a "dramatic" adversarial system and is more sedate and considered, as in fact most courts, but the TV perception is one that is often the only frame of reference.

          The LVT will appreciate your calm and considered response, and disadvantage will be more readily considered by argument not outrage. Its a boxing match, not a pub car park fight, and you win on points not just hard punches are.

          When they make a point, it is essential to note what was said, and there is no harm in a discreet recording for your own reference, so that you can rebut what was said. It is an opportunity to ask two things
          a- outline why this should have been disclosed, why was this not disclosed earlier, and the limitation in not doing so.
          b- rebut the issue made

          If after listing these you might open with your objection and request for an adjournment.
          eg had the surveyors report of date been disclosed I could have the opportunity to seek my surveyors advice and I am unable to do so in the time frame,
          and I might even point that in writing asap to the Chair.
          Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

          Comment


            #6
            I to was very dissapointed at my LVT hearing and confused by some of the points raised by the Tribunal chair which on later reflections appear to be legally wrong, I did appeal in my case and found the comments of the LVT refusing permission very interesting as they did appear to backtrack on some of the original comments. (Alas now appeals are expensive, I only did it as due to being unemployed at the time, the cost was low).

            I too was faced with out of the blue accusations of service charges owing that were nothing to do with the case in question and the Fh did not raise them in the original court bundle, most worrying was that the tribunal commented upon this accusation even though it was unproven and in fact has now been dealt with fully at County Court, where the Fh claim was struck out.

            I recently attended the New on The Block AGM and he talk by Baroness gardener on the LVt was very interesting indeed > http://www.newsontheblock.com/events...fpra-agm.thtml

            Andy
            Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

            I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

            It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

            Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

            Comment


              #7
              Greatly appreciate answers.

              Will abandon any idea of writing to Chairman on Article Six. Hand was shaking as I wrote it anyway. It felt like demanding a fair hearing off your boss before he sacks you anyway for demanding a fair hearing. Not that this reason would be the official one. Can't throw a stone against a tank.
              Do not read my offerings, based purely on my research or experience as a lessee, as legal advice. If you need legal advice please see a solicitor.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MrSoffit View Post

                The adjournment was purely because we ran out of time.
                It does seem to be completely random at times. In one of my service charge cases one day was allocated which I knew would be tight. We then spent half of the day discussing in detail about 20% of the issues. Then after lunch we raced through everything else with the Chairman obviously trying to fit everything in on the day. By 4pm I was absolutely knackered, trying to concentrate on things that were out of my comfort level. The other side had 3 of them plus their solicitor.

                At 4pm I knew I had done quite well because the other side had conceded about 30% of the disputed costs. The Chairman then asked if we wanted to apply for costs. I had prepared and submitted a lot of stuff on costs too but was so knackered by then that I said I wan't going to bother.

                In another case brought against me regarding breach of lease I said I did want to apply for costs and said it would take a while as so much had gone on (in terms of unreasonable behaviour by the other side) and the Chairman said I had 2 minutes. I had made written copies of my arguments and handed them over then spent a couple of minutes pointing out the highlights. You could see by the Chairman's face that he had no intention of awrding costs and when the decision came through he had actually made their case for them so that it didn't look as pathetic as it was. Their case was dismissed but I wasn't awarded costs.

                I've read one LVT case which involved one of the big landlords and their barristers took up most of the day leaving the leaseholders hardly any time. Again the LVT didn't appear to know what to do and the leaseholders were left complaining about the unjust decision.

                One thing you can do is apply for costs on the grounds that the other party have not complied with directions. If the LVT can get away with awarding them without making themselves look stupid then you might get them awarded.

                If you believe that it's worth it then it might be worth taking an independent observer/assistant with you and make sure you make a point of any procedural issues that you have being raised and ask for them to be noted. You could also ask there and then for leave to appeal based on the fact that you have not had a fair opportunity to rebut new submissions/arguments. That puts some pressure on them to do the right thing.
                I accept no legal responsibility for comments/advice I make on this forum. Please check with a solicitor before acting on statements made in a public forum.

                Comment


                  #9
                  There is a Lands Tribunal appeal which refers to an LVT where they admit they were running out of time and rushed through everything and they made a complete cock up and the appeal Judge does point out that in the long run it has done no-one any favours as the case was appealed and ended up going back to the LVT for a 'retrial'.

                  I've made some notes regarding my first LVT case that I may re-visit should I go to an LVT again, which probably is likeley at some point, although so far my LL has been so incompetant it hasnt gone that far (its been struck out of CC twice for various reasons, non-payment of fees and abuse of process).

                  Andy
                  Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

                  I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

                  It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

                  Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

                  Comment

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