HAVING a farm tenancy dispute arbitrator is about to be made more practical, as the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers has launched a service 'Facilitating Dispute Resolution'.

The upcoming Agriculture Bill is to give the CAAV the power to appoint official arbitrators in farm tenancy disputes in England and Wales. With that proposed standing, the CAAV is also developing a broader service – launched at the CAAV’s Annual Conference – for all forms of dispute resolution across the UK, meaning disputes in Scotland and Northern Ireland can also be handled.

With a panel of arbitrators being appointed this autumn, the CAAV’s service will widen the options for anyone seeking an arbitrator or other dispute resolver, said secretary and adviser to the CAAV, Jeremy Moody.

It has also been announced that Lord Curry has joined the Oversight Board, ensuring confidence in the service’s professional operation.

Mr Moody explained: “The service will function across the rural economy, providing landlords, tenants, utilities and businesses with the most suitable and qualified professional for their specific requirements. Whether overseeing a contract dispute, tenancy issue or compulsory purchase, the aim is that a timely, cost-effective, robust and practical approach is taken towards arbitration, using the powers of the Arbitration Act. Businesses need an effective answer in good time so that they can move on.”

Disputes within farming partnerships may need arbitration or mediation to save them from the courts, and it is hoped that this service can answer that. With the proposed changes to England’s planning system potentially creating the biggest shake-up in over 70 years, disputes over development land contracts and their valuation will need resolving – this service offers an answer whether by early review or expert determination.

Disputes over compensation for new water pipes or compulsory purchase could also all be dealt with by this service.

The Electronics Communications Code, which has already given rise to numerous disputes – leading to more than two years’ stalemate over rents and terms for telecoms sites – has recently sparked a flurry of cases from courts in Scotland and England.

These have shed some light on how valuations should be approached, both for new sites and lease renewals on existing masts, explained Kate Russell, technical and policy adviser to the CAAV: “These disputes have gone to tribunals and courts because the parties need guidance on interpretation of the law at the moment. Our new service could be used to speed up and cut the cost of this process.”