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How can Stags Professional Services help to resolve disputes?

Tue 4 December 2018

Mark Neason MRICS FAAV of Stags Professional Services outlines how Stags can help you resolve disputes.

Stags’ team of Chartered Surveyors in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset represents landlords, tenants, vendors, purchasers, claimants and respondents. In these roles, Stags Professional Services team is often called upon for our experience in the subject, ability to negotiate and to avoid the client becoming personally embroiled in a conflict which, in many cases, is close to home. 

Less well known but equally as common is our ability to act for both parties either as an expert witness, an arbitrator or through expert determination.  Mark Neason of Stags Professional Services department describes how the team often helps parties in dispute.

“The common and important theme is that we are instructed by both parties, which is termed a ‘joint instruction’. In this circumstance we have a professional duty to act fairly and impartially between the parties.  In return, the parties are required to accept the outcome.

Stags can offer a choice of procedures, all of which are governed by law or protocol set out by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors:

Expert witness

An instruction from both parties, we are most commonly instructed to value an asset that forms part of a disputed settlement, for example a house or houses belonging to a couple involved in divorce proceedings. Another common reason for us to be jointly instructed as an expert witness is to help parties engaged in a formal mediation process.  A jointly instructed valuation early on in proceedings can often offset other legal costs. 

Arbitrator

Many leases and tenancies contain provision for parties to have disputes solved by arbitration. An arbitrator gives each party a fair opportunity to put its case forward and decides the outcome of the case on the basis of the facts presented.  This procedure is most common in settling farm rents under the Agricultural Holdings Act.  It need not be too expensive and allows both parties to have a full input into the case.

Expert determination

This differs from arbitration in that we would be required to decide the outcome of a contractual dispute using our own specialist knowledge rather than deciding on the basis of evidence provided by the parties.  This is often the most straightforward way of deciding a contractual dispute but parties are wary as they have less control over the outcome.  The most common application for this would be deciding on a market rent under the Agricultural Tenancies Act.

Parties who are in conflict can help themselves by firstly identifying the specific points in dispute then agreeing to jointly appoint a professional to resolve the specific points.

If you believe that Stags may be able to help you avoid or resolve a dispute please contact Mark Neason.

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