What can we do if we don’t agree? Court procedure

These issues can be dealt with through Mediation or the Collaborative Law process. If however all avenues have been exhausted, an application under the Trust of Lands and Appointments of Trustees Act 1996 can either be made in the High Court or the County Court.

The application is made by drafting and submitting a Claim Form to the Court with a sworn statement in support. There is a court fee payable with the application. The person making the application is called the Claimant and the person on the ‘other side’ is called the Defendant who must be served with the application. Upon service, the Defendant must file an Acknowledgment of Service Form within 14 days and thereafter a document called a ‘Defence’ within 21 days if he or she should wish to defend the case.

If the application is defended then the matter will be listed for a court hearing where the judge will give ‘directions’ i.e. a timetable as to what evidence is needed and by what time. At this hearing, the usual directions will be house valuation evidence, when disclosure would be exchanged, statements of evidence and then the matter will be listed for a final hearing.

At the final hearing, evidence will be heard from both parties and any relevant witnesses and the judge will deliver a judgement setting out reasons for the decision. Parties are encouraged to arrive at an agreement as litigation can be very expensive and the general rule in respect to costs is that the winner pays the loser’s costs.