Yesterday, the Lands Tribunal – so beloved of those of us who practice in the field of leasehold property law – ceased to be. It has been replaced by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) which, confusingly, is known as… the Lands Tribunal.
There is currently a major re-organisation of tribunals in England and Wales and, broadly, the intention is to bring them all together in one structure whereby there will be a number of different “Chambers” with first-tier and upper-tier tribunals.
The Lands Tribunal has become the “upper-tier” of the Lands Chamber. Strangely, the LVT has not become the first-tier tribunal. That, we suspect, will come later.
What does this mean in practice? Very little has changed in terms of procedural law. Statutory references to the Lands Tribunal have been replaced with references to the Upper Tribunal, but there has been no change to (for example), time limits for appeals.
The major changes are:
(a) the Upper Tribunal is a superior court of record. This means that decisions are now binding in the same way as the High Court, Court of Appeal and House of Lords;
(b) the Upper Tribunal can “borrow” High Court judges for particularly difficult or important cases.
In practice (a) is likely to be the most important change for litigants. It does mean that you’re all going to have to read Upper Tribunal cases now though.
I’m quite excited about this, but I won’t feel offended if this development doesn’t cause you all to deck the streets with bunting. Full details of the changes can be found here: