The Lands Tribunal

The Lands Tribunal resolves a range of disputes about the value of land and buildings, and about their occupation, use or development.

What is the Lands Tribunal?

The Lands Tribunal is an expert tribunal established by the Lands Tribunal & Compensation Act (NI) 1964. Although it is a court, it includes valuer as well as legal members.

The Tribunal deals both with appeals from some other bodies and also disputes referred directly to it. It can deal only with those disputes where there is provision for it to do so in legislation. If in doubt, parties should take independent professional advice on whether a dispute is within its jurisdiction.

What types of dispute does the Lands Tribunal deal with?

The Tribunal deals mainly with the issues:

  • about restrictive covenants affecting land;
  • between landlords and business tenants;
  • about rating valuations appealed from the Commissioner of Valuation or the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal;
  • about compensation in respect of land compulsorily acquired; and
  • as an arbitrator, about rents and values of business properties.

How is a case referred to the Tribunal?

Forms to refer cases may be downloaded from this website. Completed forms should be sent to the Registrar, at the Lands Tribunal Office, who will acknowledge receipt and notify other parties who may have an interest in the outcome. If there is doubt as to who those might be, the Tribunal may direct that the referral is advertised in the press.

What happens next?

The Tribunal is flexible - procedures for dealing with a case are the subject of early consideration by a Tribunal member and close case management. Except in the most straightforward cases, all parties will be invited to attend an informal review (known as a Mention) before a Tribunal Member. At that review and subsequent reviews, the Tribunal will explore the issues and make Directions tailored to the requirements of the case, including any special need for urgency. These reviews also provide opportunities for the Tribunal and the parties to explore possible solutions. Directions are based on The Rules of the Lands Tribunal (NI).

If a party finds itself unable to comply with a Direction it may apply to the Registrar but should do so promptly.

Where are cases heard?

Most reviews and Hearings take place at the Tribunal Office and Court on the 2nd floor of the Royal Courts of Justice. But they may, on request, be arranged for a venue convenient to the parties - another Courthouse or a Hearing Centre.

Is legal representation necessary?

Parties may represent themselves but few do so as specialist skills usually are required to deal with the the issues. Usually parties have legal representation and expert witnesses. But, for instance, with the Tribunal's leave, valuers also may act as advocates.

How long will a case take?

Because of the diversity of matters dealt with by the Tribunal, it is difficult to estimate of how long cases will take. To provide some guidance, at the beginning of each month the Tribunal lists on the website the cases fixed for hearing in the coming month and the disputes resolved during the previous month, together with the dates on which the cases were received.

How much will it cost?

A note of the fees payable to the Lands Tribunal may be found here.

In addition there will be costs incurred by the party and any opposing parties. In the absence of agreement, the decision on whether a party recovers some or all of its costs from another party is a matter for the Tribunal. Parties should take professional advice on the likely outcomes.

Will the Tribunal explain the reasons for its decision?

If the reference proceeds to a Hearing, although the majority do not, the Tribunal will give full reasons for its decisions.

Can Decisions of the Tribunal be appealed?

There is an appeal from Decisions only to the Court of Appeal.

Where can previous Decisions be found?

All Decisions, except private arbitrations, are a matter of public record and are published on this website.

In case of difficulty, Decisions may be readily obtained by email or post from the Lands Tribunal Office.

What facilities are available at the Royal Courts of Justice?

Persons requiring any assistance regarding attendance at the Tribunal for a review or hearing should contact the Registrar at the Lands Tribunal Office.

For those with mobility difficulties, car parking is available within the grounds of the Royal Courts of Justice. Access must be pre-arranged by contacting the Administration Office on (028) 9072 4662.

Public car parks are available near the Royal Courts of Justice. These include Victoria Square Shopping Centre; The Belfast Hilton and Lanyon Place near the Waterfront Hall; Montgomery Street; Donegall Quay and Hi-Park off High Street.

Toilet facilities, including accessible toilets, are located on the ground floor, off the "Great Hall", and also on the first and second floors.

Facilities for babies and children are located on the first floor. Beside Family Court 1 there is a room for mothers with children. Beside Family Court 2 there is a father and child room and a baby changing room.

A cafe, which serves a range of hot and cold food and drinks, is located off the "Great Hall" on the ground floor.

Language Line is a free service which is now available in the Royal Courts of Justice, to help customers with general procedural enquiries. It enables customers, whose first language is not English, to speak to someone in their own language, by telephone (30 languages are available). Please speak to a member of the Courts and Tribunals staff to make use of this service.

What level of Core Service Standards can be expected?

When users come to the Royal Courts of Justice they can expect:

  • the building to be open by 9am;
  • the Lands Tribunal Office to be open from 9.30am - 4.30pm;
  • polite and helpful staff; and
  • clear signage.

When users come to the public counter/reception, Courts and Tribunals staff will:

  • respect their privacy and discuss any confidential business in private; and
  • see users within 10 minutes and if they have to wait any longer, a member of staff will explain why.

When users telephone the Lands Tribunal Office, they can expect:

  • their call to be answered within 30 seconds;
  • to be given the name of the official; and
  • the official to be clear and helpful.

When users contact the Lands Tribunal they will be:

  • dealt with by their first point of contact (but some matters may have to be referred to the Registrar).

When users write to or e-mail the Lands Tribunal Office it will:

  • acknowledge receipt of the letter and send a reply within 15 working days; and
  • give the name of an official and contact telephone number.

About our hearing types

Restrictive Covenants

The Property (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (1978 No. 459 (NI 4)) provides for the Tribunal to modify or extinguish certain restrictive covenants and other impediments affecting land.

NOTE: however that some cases may require reference to other legislation. The updated Statutes of Northern Ireland are available at the UK Statute Law Database.

The first step is to complete a Other Statutory Provisions (Form F) and send the form to the Registrar together with the appropriate fee (see the Rules).

The Tribunal will also require the application to be advertised. In many cases tracing the beneficiaries of an old restriction will be difficult but the Tribunal will require affidavit evidence of sufficient enquiries. The Tribunal has a discretion as to whether to modify or not and will require expert evidence to assist it to reach a determination.

The case will then be listed for Mention before the Tribunal. This is an informal meeting to identify the issues. Once those are clear the Tribunal will make detailed directions for the preparation and Hearing of the case.

Usually sometime after the hearing, the Tribunal will give its decision with reasons in writing. An index of previous decisions is set out in the Table of Cases together with links to downloadable copies.

 

Business Tenancies

The Business Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (1996 No. 725 (NI 5)) (the Order) provides for regulation by the Tribunal of the relationship between landlords and business tenants.

Business Tenancy Notices including the Landlord's Notice to Determine and the Tenant's Request for New Tenancy may be found at The Business Tenancies (Notices) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997 (SR 1997 No. 72) .

Where an order for a new tenancy is opposed on certain grounds the tenant may be entitled to compensation. The amounts set out in the table in the 1996 Order have been amended by the Revaluation (Consequential Provisions) Order 2003 (2003 No. 73).

NOTE: however that some cases may require reference to other legislation. The updated Statutes of Northern Ireland are available at the UK Statute Law Database.

The first step is to complete one of two types of application form. If you wish to make a tenancy application at the end of a lease use Tenancy Application (Form EA). For any other application use Other Application (Form EB). Send the form to the Registrar together with the appropriate fee (see the Rules).

The case will then be listed for mention before the Tribunal. This is an informal meeting to identify the issues. Once those are clear the Tribunal will make detailed directions for the preparation and Hearing of the case.

Usually sometime after the hearing, the Tribunal will give its decision with reasons in writing. An index of previous decisions is set out in the Table of Cases together with links to downloadable copies.

Rating Valuation Appeals

The Rates (NI) Order 1977 (1977 No. 2157 (NI 28)) makes provision for rating valuations to be appealed to the Tribunal from the Commissioner of Valuation or the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal.

Some Appeals from the Commissioner of Valuation should be made to the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal not the Lands Tribunal.

If you wish to appeal a decision of the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal you must first apply to the President of that Tribunal for leave to appeal.

NOTE: also that some appeals may require reference to other legislation. The updated Statutes of Northern Ireland are available at the UK Statute Law Database.

See also the Rates (Capital Values, etc) (NI) Order 2006 and the Rates (Amendment) (NI) Order 2006.

The first step is to complete a Rating Application or Appeal Form (Form AB, AC or AD), as appropriate, and send it to the Registrar together with the appropriate fee (see the Rules).

The case will then be listed for Mention before the Tribunal. This is an informal meeting to identify the issues. Once those are clear the Tribunal will make detailed directions for the preparation and Hearing of the case.

Usually sometime after the hearing, the Tribunal will give its decision with reasons in writing. An index of previous decisions is set out in the Table of Cases together with links to downloadable copies.

Table of Cases includes all private dwelling rating valuation cases including those decided before 1990. These may be of some assistance but should be treated with some caution as they are based on rental values rather than capital values.

Land Compensation

The Land Compensation (Northern Ireland) Order 1982 (1982 No. 712 (NI 9)) provides for the Tribunal to assess compensation in respect of land compulsorily acquired.

NOTE: however that some cases may require reference to other legislation. The updated Statutes of Northern Ireland are available at the UK Statute Law Database.

The first step is to complete a General Application (Form 1) and send the form to the Registrar together with the appropriate fee (see the Rules).

The case will then be listed for Mention before the Tribunal. This is an informal meeting to identify the issues. Once those are clear the Tribunal will make detailed directions for the preparation and Hearing of the case.

Usually sometime after the hearing, the Tribunal will give its decision with reasons in writing. An index of previous decisions is set out in the Table of Cases together with links to downloadable copies.

Arbitrations

The Lands Tribunal & Compensation Act (NI) 1964 (1964 C. 29) provides for the Tribunal to act as an arbitrator under a reference by consent relating to any matter affecting the value or the use or development of any land.

NOTE: however that some cases may require reference to other legislation. The updated Statutes of Northern Ireland are available at the UK Statute Law Database.

The first step is to complete one of two types of application form. If you wish to refer a rent review to the Tribunal complete a Rent Review Application. For other disputes complete a Other Statutory Provisions (Form F) and send to the Registrar  together with the appropriate fee (see the Rules).

The case will then be listed for mention before the Tribunal. This is an informal meeting to identify the issues. Once those are clear the Tribunal will make detailed directions for the preparation and Hearing of the case.

Usually sometime after the hearing, the Tribunal will give its decision with reasons in writing. NOTE however that such arbitrations are treated as private and the decisions of the Tribunal are not published. An index of previous decisions, in other cases, is set out in the Table of Cases together with links to downloadable copies.

Lands Tribunal Forms 

Use this link to view useful forms for the Lands Tribunals

Lands Tribunal Decisions 

All Lands Tribunal decisions are now housed on our sister website, Judiciary NI and can be found using the following link

 

 

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