The number of party wall Awards being appealed has increased significantly in recent years, which, in turn, has led to more case law providing potential grounds of appeal. This means the likelihood of the parties to an Award becoming embroiled in litigation is more common now than then the Act was first introduced. The implications of cost, time and stress for the parties to an appeal will often be overwhelming.
Since the advent of the Civil Procedure Rules, litigating parties have been strongly encouraged by the courts to seek to resolve their disputes by means of Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR"). This is usually by way of Mediation or Arbitration, or a combination of both known as "Med-Arb".
The Party Wall Consultancy has now launched a dedicated service to assist the parties to appeal proceedings in seeking an alternative to traditional litigation. This is in the form of either Mediation or 'Med-Arb' as part of a dispute resolution service to be initiated following a stay of appeal proceedings brought under section 10(17) of the Act. Therefore, once an appeal has been made within 14 days of the Award being served, the parties agree to stay the appeal pending the outcome of the Mediation or Med-Arb ADR process.
Where Mediation alone is selected as the ADR mechanism between the parties, we will act as Mediator to facilitate a negotiated resolution to the grounds of appeal between the parties. If successful, the parties will agree a consent order and the appeal will be vacated. If the Mediation fails to achieve settlement, then the appeal proceedings are resumed.
Where the parties elect the Med-Arb service, the process will start as a Mediation, and if this fails, the Mediator will then determine the dispute on the grounds of appeal based on the evidence submitted by the parties. This means there is an adjudicated outcome, which cannot always be guaranteed with Mediation. It is open to the parties to appeal the decision by resuming the appeal proceedings in court in accordance with section 10(17) of the Act.
Our principal surveyor, James McAllister, is a qualified Mediator and Arbitrator. He is a certified and accredited Mediator registered with the Civil Mediation Council. He is also an Arbitrator and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.