What happens after I lodge an appeal?
As explained in the NIVT Information leaflet and on the NIVT website you can choose to have your appeal dealt with in writing (written representations) or through personal attendance at a hearing.
Written Representations - If you are content, and have indicated accordingly on your appeal form, your case can proceed without an oral hearing. Your appeal will therefore be decided by the tribunal solely on the papers provided by the department responsible for making the decision in your case, together with any written submission or evidence you or your representative forward to the NIVT office.
For this reason it is vital that you forward any information, document or material you intend to rely on to the NIVT office as early as possible. A leaflet is available providing guidance on Evidence submitted to the NIVT.
All such representations are copied to the other parties. There is then a statutory 28 day period to allow for comments. Only after this period can a Tribunal panel then deal with your appeal. You will be informed of the date the Tribunal will consider your appeal and a written decision will issue shortly afterwards.
It should be noted that in some circumstances the NIVT office may advise you that a hearing will take place because another party to the proceedings has requested one, or the tribunal panel has decided that one is necessary in order to deal with the case as fully as possible.
Of course you may also change your mind and if you decide you want an oral hearing you must inform the NIVT office as soon as possible and follow up in writing.
Oral hearing - This is where you (and your representative if you have one), attend in person to put forward your case and present your evidence directly to the tribunal. A representative of the department who made the decision will also attend. This will normally be the valuer who most recently inspected your property.
As explained in the NIVT Information leaflet the NIVT consists of a President, a number of legal members, members with valuation experience, (valuation members) and a number of ordinary (lay) members. At the hearing, the Tribunal panel will normally be composed of three members, one from each of the three categories. The legal member will always preside over the hearing (the chairman).
NIVT hearings are normally heard in public. You should note that the following people are entitled to be at a hearing, whether it is in public or private. However they do not take part in the proceedings:
• the President
• any person undergoing training as a legal member/panel member/ tribunal clerk
• any person training panel members or monitoring the standard of decision making
• and any other person with the consent of the chairman
We will send you details of the date, place and time of the hearing. We will do this at least 28 days before the hearing date. Please note that the time stated will be the earliest that the hearing will begin. Delays do occur because it is impossible to estimate how long each appeal will last, however, waiting time is kept to a minimum.
At the hearing you will be met by the Clerk, who will explain to you where to go and what will happen. The clerk will take you into the tribunal room when your case is ready for hearing.
The exact manner in which the hearing is conducted is a matter for the Chairman, but most cases follow the same general pattern:
• the Chairman introduces everyone and explains how the hearing will proceed;
• the department’s representative briefly outlines the way that he/she sees the case;
• you (or your representative) then have the opportunity to present your case;
• the Chairman and/or members of the tribunal will ask questions and consider any additional evidence as the hearing proceeds;
• the department’s representative may also ask you questions;
• similarly you may ask the department’s representative questions.
Although those participating in a hearing will not normally be asked to take an oath, all parties should be aware it is their duty to tell the truth at all times. Whilst the tribunal endeavours to remain informal, occasionally a witness may be asked to give evidence on oath.
The tribunal can only come to a decision based on the evidence presented to it at the hearing. Accordingly it is important that you provide the tribunal panel with all the relevant information at your disposal. It should be noted that any documents or evidence not previously disclosed (to the other party or the NIVT) but presented at the hearing can result in the case being adjourned to allow the other party time to respond.
The tribunal panel will usually break for a short time to consider and discuss the case in private. The parties will normally be asked to return to the waiting area. The Clerk will inform you when you can return to the hearing room.
In the majority of appeals the Chairman will announce the panel’s decision on the day. Occasionally it may be necessary to adjourn the hearing to allow for further consideration. In either case a notice of decision will be issued to all parties as soon as possible after the hearing (usually within 3 to 4 weeks) explaining how the tribunal came to its decision.
NB: The issued decision is a document of public record and will be made available on the tribunal’s website at http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en- GB/Judicial%20Decisions/NIVT-Decisions/Pages/default.aspx. In certain limited circumstances you may ask for this to be redacted.
If your appeal is refused, and depending on the circumstances, you have 14 days from the date of receipt of the written decision to apply to the tribunal to review its decision. Please contact the NIVT office for help and advice on the applicable grounds for appeal.
Comments / suggestions – We always welcome suggestions from our customers. By making comments about our services you help us to improve them. If you have a comment or suggestion please contact the NIVT office as outlined below.
A complaints procedure is in place and available to parties who are dissatisfied with the administrative service provided by the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal. By making a complaint you help us to put things right. The complaints procedure should be initiated in the first instance by contacting Mark Radcliffe, the NIVT Complaints Officer, at the address or numbers below.
Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal
2nd Floor, Royal Courts of Justice
Belfast BT1 3JF
Tel: 0300 200 7812
Fax: 028 9031 3510