PS2 Non-domestic rating (NDR) appeals
The following directions only apply to appeals where notices of hearing are issued after on or after 1 April 2017. Notices and directions issued prior to this date will remain in force.
(a) Rating lists before 2017
These directions are formal orders and must be complied with. They are intended to help the parties and the Tribunal deal with applications fairly, swiftly and economically, together with furthering the overriding objective.
Standard Directions for pre-2017 List NDR appeals
- After service of these Directions the appellant must initiate discussions with the respondent.
- No later than 10 weeks before the date of the hearing the parties must have:(a) discussed and identified the agreed facts and the issues in dispute; and(b) exchanged valuations (if applicable).Where discussions took place prior to receiving these Directions and all or some of the above have already occurred, there is no need to discuss those matters again. However, the appellant must still make contact with the respondent to seek confirmation of the position and discuss any outstanding areas.
Regulation 17(3) evidence1
- No later than eight weeks before the date of the hearing, the respondent must serve on the appellant a copy of any Regulation 17(3) evidence on which the respondent relies.
The appellant’s case
- No later than six weeks before the date of the hearing, the appellant must serve on the respondent:(a) their case setting out in full the grounds for the appeal, the decision sought and any legal argument including authorities (case law) relied upon(b) any expert evidence(c) a copy of all the appellant’s relevant documents and other evidence(d) a single index to the documents above.These documents must be served by email only on the respondent by any appellant who has provided an email address for service in these proceedings.
The respondent’s case
- Where the appellant has served its case according to paragraph 4 above, no later than four weeks before the date of the hearing the respondent must serve on the appellant:a) their case setting out in full the grounds for resisting the appellant’s case, the decision sought and any legal argurment including authorities (case law) relied uponb) any expert evidencec) a copy of all relevant documents and other evidenced) a single index to these documentsThese documents must be served by email only by the respondent on any appellant who has provided an email address for service in the proceedings.
Sending documents to the Tribunal before the hearing
- No later than two weeks before the date of the hearing the appellant must file with the Tribunal and serve on the respondent:(a) a copy of all of the documents disclosed by both parties according to these Directions(b) a reply to the respondent’s case, if the appellant chooses to make one; or(c) a copy of an agreement form signed by the appellant where the respondent has made an offer to settle and the appellant accepts the offer but the appeal remains outstanding, or a signed withdrawal form.These documents must be filed and served by email only by any appellant who has provided an email address for service in the proceedings.
- Each party must bring to the hearing paper copies of a file which comprises only the documents served on the other party in accordance with these Directions. Three copies will be required for the use of the clerk and the panel, unless otherwise directed by the Tribunal; a fourth copy will be required for the other party if it has not already been served on them in paper form. Each page must be numbered.
- If a party wishes the case to be heard in their absence they must notify the Tribunal at least two weeks before the hearing.
- Where a settlement has been reached as outlined in 6(c) above and the appeal remains outstanding the panel may confirm the figure offered. Where the appeal has been withdrawn, but remains outstanding the Tribunal will dismiss the appeal unless there is good reason not to.
- Any appellant failing to comply with these Directions may find their appeal struck out. If the respondent fails to comply with these Directions, it may be barred.
Explanatory Note for the Standard Directions for pre-2017 List NDR appeals
- Following a successful pilot, all NDR pre-2017 List appeals will be dealt with in accordance with the attached Standard Directions.
- These Standard Directions replace Practice Statement A7-1: Non-Domestic Rates (Rating List 2010): Disclosure and Exchange (including the Standard Directions) and Paragraphs 13-21 of Practice Statement A2: Listing of Non-Domestic Rating Appeals in respect of these appeals.
- If such an appeal has been listed before in accordance with Practice Statement A7-1 but the hearing was postponed or adjourned, these Standard Directions will now apply even though the parties may already have produced statements of case. However, previously discussed elements of the appeal do not need to be discussed again (see para. 6). Please note that to comply with Direction 6 it will not be acceptable to rely on a previously submitted statement of case, unless it meets the criteria for a full case.
Complying with these Directions
- Directions are formal orders and must be complied with. They are intended to help the parties and the Tribunal deal with appeals justly, fairly and economically.
- Note that compliance with Directions 1-5 means that the parties do not file any documents with the Tribunal. This only occurs at two weeks before the hearing in accordance with Direction 6.
- It is the responsibility of the appellant (the person who brings the appeal) to make initial contact with the respondent (the Valuation Officer or “VO”) to discuss the case and exchange valuation calculations (Direction 1). The appellant must be able to show that they have done this (for example by producing relevant correspondence). The appellant must make contact even if they believe these matters have been discussed prior to listing. However, there is no need to discuss matters again and the VO cannot require it of the appellant; the contact is necessary to confirm the position and clarify any additional matters.
- Where the appellant has not made this contact with the VO and has not served their case (Direction 4), the VO need not serve its case on the appellant (Direction 5). However, the parties may agree between themselves to vary the deadlines (see paragraph 14 below).
- Whenever a party sends anything to the Tribunal they must also send a copy to the other party and note this clearly in the correspondence.
Failure to comply with these Directions
- A party may not rely on any evidence or argument (including Regulation 17(3) evidence2) which has not been served in accordance with these Directions, without the permission of the Tribunal.
- In the event of failure to comply, the party in question will need to explain to the Tribunal (with evidence in support) why it did not comply. The Tribunal may exercise any of the powers it has under the Regulations, which include deciding to:
- admit or exclude evidence,
- adjourn or proceed with the hearing,
- strike out the appeal (this means that the Tribunal would refuse to hear the party’s case) or bar the respondent from taking part in it,
- issue directions.
- In particular, if the Tribunal is satisfied that the appellant has not contacted the VO to start discussions (Direction 1), or has not met the requirements to serve its case (Direction 4) or to send documents to the Tribunal before the hearing (Direction 6), the Tribunal may strike out the appeal. If either party fails to produce a full case within the bundle (Direction 6) but relies on a statement of case which fails to comply they may be struck out or barred.
- Where the respondent has made an offer to settle the appeal in writing, which the appellant agrees to and has returned the document signed, there is no need for the appellant to produce a hearing bundle, only a copy of the agreement. If the appeal has not been cleared by the date of the hearing the Tribunal may confirm the provisionally agreed rateable value at the hearing. Similarly, where the appellant has withdrawn the appeal there is no need to produce a hearing bundle, only a signed copy of the withdrawal notice. If the appeal has not been cleared by the date of the hearing the Tribunal may dismiss the appeal.
Varying these Directions
- A party may apply to the Tribunal for any of these Directions, including time limits, to be varied, or for any other appropriate direction.
- The parties may agree in writing between themselves to vary the deadlines in Directions 1-5, and they should do so where it is practical and reasonable to agree a variation and does not cause unfairness. The parties need not notify the Tribunal when they have agreed such a variation.
- The parties may not agree between themselves to vary the deadline in Direction 6. This is because they may not vary the deadline in reg.17(4) of the Procedure Regulations.
- The parties may agree that they can submit additional evidence to each other before the bundle is sent to the Tribunal.
- An act which these Directions require to be done by a particular day must be done by 5pm on that day.
- Nothing in this Explanatory Note is to be interpreted as limiting the Tribunal in the exercise of any of its powers. The Tribunal may issue directions to interested or competent parties, to whom these Standard Directions do not apply.
1 Evidence covered by Regulation 17(3) of the Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 SI 2009 No 2269.
2 Evidence covered by Regulation 17(3) of the Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 SI 2009 No 2269.