Dispute Chief Backs Removal of Court Cases from Courts

Solving deposit disputes without ending up in court is already a tried and tested option and it should be rolled out further to minimise costs and stress and avoid disproportionate justice believes Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit scheme, which is operated by the Dispute Service.  

 

Writing in the latest issue of Inside Housing, he said that the Scheme has resolved 42,000 cases in four years and in 98% of the time had done so within four weeks. He revealed this following the proposals by the Ministry of Justice to move 80,000 cases a year away from the courts and to a simple small claims mediation service.

 

The Dispute Service Chief has called for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme model for Alternative Dispute Resolution, to be widened from its present remit to deal with arguments over damage and dilapidations at the end of a tenancy to cover other areas such as rent areas and housing disrepair.

 

“Everyone knows that going to court is time consuming and expensive and it is easy for costs to far outweigh the value of the money in dispute. For years, politicians, policy makers and judges have said that justice should be proportionate,” Steve Harriott pointed out.

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme offers a more proportionate form of justice and resolves 98% of all disputes in less than 28 days. That compares with an average wait of six months for small claims cases to be heard.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a paper-based process with no oral hearings. “It is the oral hearing that racks up the cost of litigation in court,” said Steve Harriott. “In the area of a typical tenancy dispute, where the average sum in dispute is less than £500, these costs usually result in disproportionate justice. We should be able to use this model in many other areas,” he concluded.

 

Ends

 

Media contact Malcolm Harrison 020 7581 8335

5th March 2012

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