Updating the Land Registration Act 2002
The Law Commission is consulting on possible updates to the LRA 2002 in light of the experience of its operation. The PLA Law Reform Committee has submitted a response on behalf of PLA members to certain aspects of the Law Commission's proposals, including those relating to the threshold for compulsory registration of leases, rectifying the register in cases of fraud and the adverse possession procedure.
Electronic Communications Code
In January 2015 the government introduced amendments to the Infrastructure Bill that would have enacted a new Code, substantially in line with the Law Commission's proposals. The amendments were withdrawn and a consultation paper published on the new Code. A copy of the PLA's response may be found here. In July 2015 the government announced its intention to introduce legislation in the first session of Parliament to reform the Code. In May 2016 proposals for a new Code were published, details of which may be found here. The Government proposes to take the reforms through primary legislation at the earliest possible opportunity. The PLA will monitor the progress of the reforms and keep members updated.
Boundary Disputes - Private Member’s Bill
The Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill is intended to make provision for the resolution of disputes concerning the location or placement of boundaries and private rights of way. The PLA Law Reform Committee is closely monitoring the progress of the Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Lords on 11 September 2015.
Proposed Amendments to the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 - Briefing Note
The PLA Law Reform Committee has given serious thought to (and consulted its members and industry stakeholders) as to how the Act might be reformed in order to achieve commercial effect without offending the anti-avoidance aims of the Act when originally enacted.
The PLA has the support of the property industry and has received endorsement for the proposal from the British Property Federation, the British Retail Consortium and the Property Bar Association and would welcome consideration of this proposal and further discussion with the Department for Communities and Local Government in order to understand how best to effect much-needed reform of the Act.
- Proposed Amendments to the Landlord and Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995 - PLA Briefing Note to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Feedback on HM Courts and Tribunal Service
In 2015 the PLA decided to launch an initiative to encourage our members to give feedback on the service provided by HMCTS. We believe that improving the amount of feedback which our members provide will better enable HMCTS to learn from our experiences (good and bad) and improve the service which they provide. This initiative is particularly relevant given the substantial increases in court fees implemented in April 2015 and the government's consultation on further rises, which closed on 15 September 2015. In Autumn 2015 the PLA submitted a detailed report to HMCTS on the feedback received from members. A copy may be found here.
The PLA is continuing to lobby for reform and intends to hold a "Question Time" style debate for members in Autumn 2016.
Court/Tribunal Fee Increase Consultation
Following an increase in court fees in April 2015 the government has published proposals for further rises for money claims and new fees for the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). The PLA responded to the government consultation, opposing the majority of the proposals. A copy of the PLA's response may be found here. Any comments on actual or proposed court fee increases should be directed to Mathew Ditchburn or Hayley Harris.
Shorter and Earlier Trials
The PLA has responded in detail to the Court's consultation on the introduction of a piloted Shorter Trial Procedure (leading to judgment within a year of issuing proceedings) and Flexible Trial Procedure (allowing parties to adapt court procedures to suit their case). The PLA's response to the pilot schemes and proposed draft practice direction may be found here. Any comments should be directed to Mathew Ditchburn.
County Court Users’ Committees, including Central London County Court
It is proposed that the success of the Central London County Court Users' Committee and work done by the LRC be expanded to include other County Court Users' Committees. Members of the LRC sit on the CLCC's Business User Group which deals with the business of the Court and comments/concerns of practitioners who use it. If you have any queries/comments in relation to Central London County Court, please direct these to Kerry Glanville. For all other County Courts please contact Stuart Wortley.
RICS Mediation Guidance Note
Published in January 2015 this Note was co-written by and has the support of the Property Litigation Associaton. Jacqui Joyce, former Chair of the PLA, was the Chair of the Working Party that produced the Guidance Note. The Note is aimed at surveyors who advise their clients in relation to a dispute and gives guidance on when mediation shoud be considered, how it works, the benefits of mediating over litigating, and the consequences if parties do not mediate. It will also be of use to junior lawyers who may not be familiar with mediation. To read the Note click here.
Costs, Costs Budgeting and the Jackson Reforms
In 2014 the LRC surveyed PLA members and Costs lawyers on Costs, Costs Budgeting and the Jackson Reforms. The results were revealed by Keith Conway, Chair of the LRC, and discussed at the LRC Annual Debate on 5 November 2014 where the panel members were Senior Costs Judge Master Gordon-Saker, Chief Chancery Master Marsh, HHJ Marc Dight and David Holland QC. To read the results of the survey click here. Following on from the survey results and discussion at the Debate an article was published in The Estates Gazette on 24 January 2015. "The Costs of Reform" written on behalf of the PLA by Natalie Johnston, Keith Conway, Peter Bourke and Bryan Johnston, is re-printed with the permission of the Estates Gazette and can be downloaded here.
Termination of Tenancies for Tenant Default
The Law Commission is looking again at the recommendations put forward in 2006 and has asked the PLA to repeat the survey undertaken as part of the original consultation. Therefore, as agreed, the PLA added additional questions at Part 2 of the survey. A summary of the results of the PLA survey and the recommendations put forward to the Law Commission can be found here. Following the survey results an article was published in the Estates Gazette. "Points of Re-entry" written on behalf of the PLA by Paul Barker and Mathew Ditchburn is reprinted with permission of the Estates Gazette and may be downloaded here. The government is considering how the PLA's concerns regarding the summary termination procedure might be overcome and an update from the Law Commission is awaited.
PLA Law Reform Committee proposed amendments to the Landlord & Tenant (Covenants) Act 1995
The Law Reform Committee of the Property Litigation Association lobbied for reform and put forward a proposed amendment to address the uncertainties arising from 1995 Act, particularly relating to those concerning intra-group assignments. With backing from the BPF and BRC it had been hoped that this would have been selected for consideration in the Law Commission's 12th Programme of Reform. As it was not, the reforms are being pursued with the CDLG and a favourable result is anticipated.
Property Chamber, Land Registration, First Tier Tribunal
Kerry Glanville is the Property Litigation Association representative on this Users' Group.