What is the intention of the Party Wall Act?
Appealing an Award does not happen often, and, whilst we have served hundreds of Awards, we are yet to have one of our Awards appealed. However, if you are considering appealing an Award, you may wish to read this article which we hope will give you some useful guidance.
We do recommend that before you Appeal an Award, you must think carefully about what you are hoping to achieve; whether you have a realistic chance of success and lastly; are there any reasonable alternatives that may negate the need for Appeal.
Section 10(17) of the Party Wall Act states ‘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 upon him, appeal to the County Court against the Award and the County Court may –
Rescind the Award or modify it in such manner as the Court thinks fit; and
Make such order as to costs as the Court thinks fit.’
Two points to make here are firstly, that you must appeal the Award at a County Court, therefore it is important for you to make sure that you attend the correct Court.
Secondly, you only have fourteen days in which to appeal the Award, from the day on which the Award was made. You therefore need to act quickly to ensure that you act within the time period given.
It should be noted that the fourteen day time period only relates to Awards which are valid. If an Award is not valid, perhaps because it goes beyond the Surveyor’s jurisdiction, then you can challenge it at any time. This is implied in the High Court ruling on Gyle-Thompson & Others v Wall Street Properties Limited, though be aware that this case was non-binding.
Whilst Appeals in relation to Party Wall Awards are governed by Part 52 of the Civil Procedures Rules, we advise that you bring your appeal within fourteen days of the Award being made. There have been instances whereby people have wanted to appeal an Award in the belief that they have 21 days in line with Part 52, however, the statutory nature of the Appeal means that the fourteen days specified in Section 10(17) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 overrides Part 52 of the Civil Procedures Rules. It can also be considered that the fourteen day appeal period starts from the time the Award was actually received - this was clarified in Freetown Ltd v Assethold Ltd.
When you appeal an Award you are referred to as an ‘appellant’ and you will need to complete form N161. To download this form, please see the link at the end of this article.
Form N161 is an ‘Appellant’s Notice’ and as well as filing it at County Court, the Notice must be served on the other party and the Surveyor(s) whose Award is being appealed. You should append any evidence to the Notice along with a skeletal argument outlining your reasons for appeal. The form has twelve sections for you to consider and once the form has been filed to the correct court within the appropriate time frame, you will have kick-started the appeals process.
If you are considering appealing an Award, we would be happy to give you advice. We are also able to recommend Party Wall Solicitors should you require legal advice or representation.
Download form N161 to appeal an Award: