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Functions & Procedures

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:

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.

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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.

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How much will it cost?

A note of the fees payable to the Lands Tribunal may be found on this website.

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 significant Decisions, except private arbitrations, are published and available on this website.

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

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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.

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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.

How can a complaint be made?

The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service respects the views of all tribunal and court users. A leaflet "Making a Complaint" provides information on how to make a complaint. To obtain a copy of this leaflet, ask a member of the Courts and Tribunals staff or contact the Registrar, at the Lands Tribunal Office.

For further information go to Contact the Lands Tribunal

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