The Tribunal Procedure Committee (TPC) have decided not to cap the costs recoverable under Rule 13(1)(b) for unreasonable behaviour. The TPC concluded, in agreement with the PLA’s Law Reform Committee proposal, that steps should be taken to publicise the guidance in Willow Court Management Company (1985) Limited v Alexander in a clear form to parties involved in leasehold and residential property cases. The TPC proposes to add information to the Property Chamber website.
The TPC have published the outcome of its consultation paper on the question of placing a cap on “unreasonable behaviour” costs recoverable in leasehold and residential property cases in the Property Chamber of the FTT and corresponding changes in the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal. This would affect leasehold management and enfranchisement cases (amongst others). The TPC was concerned that the unreasonable costs provisions were restricting access to justice arising from anecdotal reports that threats of and actual applications were either deterring an application or discouraging applicants from continuing with genuine claims.
In our response to the TPC, the PLA’s Law Reform Committee acknowledged the potential for unrepresented parties to be discouraged from making applications. However, capping costs (particularly at the low figures mentioned in the consultation) might lead to more unreasonable behaviour by FTT litigants. Rather than a cap, we proposed a standard form guidance note be prepared that explains Rule 13(1)(b) in the context of the judicial guidance in Willow Court Management Company (1985) Limited v Alexander.
The PLA’s Law Reform Committee welcomes the outcome of this consultation.
The TPC will however be keeping this issue under review and members are asked to keep the PLA’s Law Reform Committee informed of any cases relevant to this review. You can do this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.