The First-tier Tribunal: summary of the transitional provisions

The provisions which cover cases which have been started in the LVT and have survived its demise appear in Schedule 3 to the Transfer of Tribunal Functions Order 2013/1036. Here are the main rules which will affect service charge cases as they appear in Schedule 3:

1.  Any proceedings before an old tribunal which are pending immediately before 1st July 2013 shall continue on and after that date as proceedings before the First-tier Tribunal.

2.  Any case in the process of being referred to an old tribunal on 1st July 2013 shall continue on or after that date as a case being referred to the First-tier Tribunal.

3.

(1) The following sub-paragraphs apply where proceedings are continued in the First-tier Tribunal by virtue of paragraph 1.

(2) Where a hearing began before 1st July 2013 but was not completed by that date, the First-tier Tribunal must be comprised for the continuation of that hearing of the person or persons who began it.

(3) The First-tier Tribunal may give any direction to ensure that proceedings are dealt with fairly and, in particular, may—

(a) apply any provision in procedural rules which applied to the proceedings before 1st July 2013; or

(b) disapply provisions of Tribunal Procedure Rules.

(4) In sub-paragraph (3) “procedural rules” means provision (whether called rules or not) regulating practice or procedure before an old tribunal.

(5) Any decision (whether or not called a decision) or direction or order given or made in proceedings which is in force immediately before 1st July 2013 remains in force on and after that date as if it were a decision, direction or order of the First-tier Tribunal.

(6) A time period which has started to run before 1st July 2013 and which has not expired shall continue to apply.

(7) An order for costs may only be made if, and to the extent that, an order could have been made before 1st July 2013.

8.  For the purposes of this Schedule, “an old tribunal” means— …

(d) a rent assessment committee functioning as a leasehold valuation tribunal in England; …

Observations

Despite their length, the transitional provisions are quite straightforward.

Paragraphs 1 & 2

In short, every case which is mid-transfer, and every case which had not been disposed of by the LVT immediately becomes a First-tier Tribunal case and all of the new rules apply immediately.

This is not quite as overwhelming as it might at first appear, because the new Tribunal has the power, at its discretion, to continue to apply the old rules/disapply the new rules.

Paragraph 3

There are three principle points worth noting:

  • Any decision in force immediately before 01 July 2013 remains in force as if it were a decision of the First-tier Tribunal. Decisions of the First-tier Tribunal are enforceable as if they were orders of the court. The implication is therefore that a party with the benefit of a favourable LVT decision handed down on, say 28 June 2013, does not need to apply to court for permission to enforce it, because on 01 July 2013, that LVT decision morphs into a First-tier Tribunal decision;
  • The arrival of the new Tribunal has no effect on time frames. If time runs for twenty one days from 20 June 2013, the fact that the time frame straddles 01 July 2013 is irrelevant. Twenty one days from 20 June 2013 are twenty one days from 20 June 2013. The only query that springs to mind is whether the new, extended 28 day time limit for bringing an appeal applies if the time for applying for permission to appeal starts on 20 June 2013;
  • All cases issued before 01 July 2013 are protected from the costs orders under new rule 13, unless the Tribunal could have made the same order for costs that the Tribunal could have been made under the old rules. In other words, the old rules on costs effectively apply to cases begun before 01 July 2013.