Blog from Mathew Ditchburn, Chair of the Law Reform Committee


Mathew Ditchburn, Chair of the Law Reform Committee

This is my first blog as chair of LRC. I joined the committee in 2011.  Back then, all the talk was about “hot tubbing” and whether the Dilapidations Protocol would ever be adopted into the Civil Procedure Rules.  Fast forward seven years and I find myself taking over the reins from Kerry Glanville, who I would like to thank for such a fabulous contribution as chair and dedicated membership of LRC before that.

So much has been done by LRC in that time but, of course, there is always more to do. We continue striving to make the law and the legal system work better for our members, and the clients we represent.

Already, 2018 has seen some fireworks in the property litigation world. The Business and Property Courts are running a pilot that will see the abandonment of standard disclosure.  All unopposed lease renewals for London properties are being shifted into the First Tier Tribunal, with the promise of a 20 week timetable from start to end, whether the parties like it or not (take note everyone else as this is the shape of things to come).  We are fighting a rear guard action against the Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill, which would see all boundary issues referred to surveyors for binding determination.

Improving court experience remains an important issue for LRC. Most recently, we met with HMCTS to discuss the proposed roll out of a single online service for issuing all court and tribunal claims, and what that would mean for property cases.  We are in regular contact with Government, the judiciary, the Law Commission, the Civil Justice Council, RICS and others to represent the PLA’s interests on a myriad of issues.

With that in mind, I would like to thank our hard working LRC members: Peter Bourke, Danielle Drummond-Brassington, Thekla Fellas, Dellah Gilbert, Natalie Johnston, Bryan Johnston, Jacqui Joyce, Charlotte Tyfield, Emily Wood and Stuart Wortley, and welcome our latest joiner, Nyree Applegarth.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your views.  Give us your thoughts on any proposed changes and tell us what you think are the most pressing areas for reform.  Get in touch via the PLA website.

Please also have a read of my article on the PLA’s top ten areas for commercial property reform post-Brexit in this week’s Estates Gazette:

Thanks for reading, and see you all at the conference!