Land Compensation Act 1961: Compulsory Purchase Orders
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What is the Land Compensation Act 1961?
The Land Compensation Act 1961 is a consolidation of several Acts of Parliament in relation to compensation for compulsory purchase, most of which was brought into force in England on 1st August 1961. Compulsory purchase provides certain legal bodies with the power to acquire land without the need to obtain consent from the land owner.
Under the Land Compensation Act 1961, residential land owners and occupiers will be entitled to claim compensation if their land is to be compulsorily acquired. If you discover or believe that your land may be subject to a compulsory purchase order, you should seek advice from a property law solicitor or chartered surveyor as soon as possible so that you can obtain advice and information on your legal rights.
Costs Recovery for Claims under the Land Compensation Act 1961
Following the receipt of compensation due to a Compulsory Purchase Order, the land owner or occupier will be entitled to recover reasonable legal costs to cover the fees of any professionals used, such as a solicitor, in the preparation and negotiation of a claim.
Objecting to a Compulsory Purchase Order
It is possible to object to a Compulsory Purchase Order; this must be made in writing by a qualifying person (this may be an owner, leaseholder, occupier or tenant or any other person who by be entitled to claim compensation if the Order is made) or their legal representative or professional adviser. A surveyor or specialist solicitor will be able to let you know if they believe you have a valid objection.
Valid objections may include that the qualifying person:
- Rejects the scheme, but not due to objections to local planning policy;
- Although in agreement with the scheme, wishes it to be located elsewhere; or,
- Although in agreement with the scheme, would like minor changes to minimise any impact.
Objections regarding the following will be deemed invalid and disregarded by the confirming authority:
- Objections regarding the amount of compensation;
- Situations where the owner wishes to sell all of their property but the acquiring authority wants only part of it;
- Situations in which the objection relates to local planning policy.
Recovery of Costs for Objecting to a CPO
The objector will be held responsible for the payment of any costs associated with objecting to the Compulsory Purchase Order. If, however, your objection is sustained and your land is excluded from the CPO, or the CPO is not confirmed, an award of reasonable costs may be recovered when the confirming authority has issued their decision.
If you are only partially successful, you will be entitled to recover reasonable costs that relate to the successful part of your rejection.
The Process of Recovering Legal Costs
If it has been established that you or your Solicitor are entitled to recover legal costs following receipt of compensation due to a CPO, or if you have successfully objected to a CPO, you may be required to proceed using the process of detailed assessment to determine the level of costs owed to you.
To initiate detailed assessment proceedings, you will need to draft a bill of costs and serve it upon the paying party alongside a Notice of Commencement. Your bill of costs should detail the costs you wish to recover from the paying party; it is important to ensure these costs are reasonable and proportionate.
If the paying party do not agree with any of the costs listed within your bill, they should prepare and send their Points of Dispute within 21 days to negotiate the level of cots. The receiving party may further negotiate using points of reply and parties should attempt to reach an agreement before proceeding to a Detailed Assessment Hearing.
How can ARC Costs Assist?
We regularly assist Solicitors, Legal Executives and other legal professionals in a wide array of costs matters and disputes, including those associated with claims under the Land Compensation Act 1961. As independent costs experts we can assist either Receiving or Paying parties.
If you are currently involved in a costs claim following a CPO, one of our experts will be able to provide expert legal advice on costs law. Our team also specialise in the production of costing instruments, such as bills of costs and points of dispute.
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