Party Wall Appeals
There has been much confusion as to the manner to which a Party to a Party Wall Award may appeal such an award. This provides that where a Party intends to appeal such an award they must seek specialist advice. This is so because the strict timelines and procedural nature will mean that if a Party fail to act in the set manner of procedure or time-frame they will be precluded from bringing an action and the claim will fall away. This is an important point and one that will not be appreciated.
Therefore, the first message is that if a Party wishes to appeal an award they must seek to act fast.
The days of instructing a law firm to appeal an award and for that Law firm to lodge a Part 8 Claim with all surrounding evidence is now long gone. Indeed, this firm has witnessed time being lost whereby a law firm will try such an approach. In times past, such appeals were considered re-hearings and evidence was called as determined by the Parties.
The important point is that an appeal is a statutory appeal and is governed by Part 52 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Party Wall Appeals are governed by Part 52 of the CPR. This was confirmed in Zissis v Lukomski (2006) EWCA Civ 341. An appeal against an award will be founded under section 10(17) of the Party Wall Act which provides:
Either of the parties to the dispute may, within the period of fourteen days beginning with the day on which an award made under this section is served on him, appeal to the county court against the award and the county court may—
(a)rescind the award or modify it in such manner as the court thinks fit; and
(b)make such order as to costs as the court thinks fit.
The general rule is that an appeal maybe brought under Part 52 within 21 days or as modified. This is not the case under Party Wall Award appeals, and it is said to be 14 days. Therefore, time is of the essence in this respect prior to the rights of appeal falling away.
The appeal is heard at the County Court and is first commenced by the appellant lodging the appropriate N161 form. Thereafter they will be required to serve the notice and required documents on all parties (including the surveyor(s)). It is then required that the Respondent will be required to serve the respondents skeleton argument or indeed its own notice.
It is very important to recognise what evidence can be lodged with the Court. As it is a statutory appeal there are grounds to say that if evidence is relied upon that was not available to the Surveyor(s) then it will need leave of the Court to be admitted.
We will say that this is an important point especially where a Party is providing information when an award is being made. For the prudent Party it will look to submit its documents on the prospective approach in light of what they might look to in the potential appeal of the future.