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Lanarkshire Valuation Appeal Panel

The Lanarkshire Valuation Appeal Panel is an independent appeal tribunal set up under the relevant law and regulations. The main function of the Valuation Appeal Panel is to adjudicate on disputes between the Assessor, on the one hand, and ratepayers and Council Taxpayers, on the other, over entries in the Valuation Roll for rating purposes and entries in the Valuation List for Council Tax purposes. There are other functions in relation to both rating and Council Tax matters which are used less often. These include appeals against some decisions of South Lanarkshire Council and North Lanarkshire Council in relation to Council Tax matters e.g. whether someone is a Council Taxpayer or is entitled to a Council Tax discount.

The Lanarkshire Valuation Appeal Panel has jurisdiction in relation to all such disputes relating to properties situated within the boundaries of North and South Lanarkshire. The Panel consists of seventeen members. Members are appointed by the Sheriff Principal of South Strathclyde Dumfries and Galloway. From those members the Sheriff Principal appoints a Panel Chairman and Deputy Chairman. The present Panel Chairman is Mr George Porteous and the present Deputy Chairpersons are Mr Gordon Lind and Mrs Alison Blaney.

Members of the Panel must reside or be engaged in business or be employed in the local authority areas of North or South Lanarkshire. Panel members are voluntary and unpaid. They have no prior knowledge of the appeal.

The Panel is assisted by a Secretary to the Panel who carries out administrative work on behalf of the Panel and supplies legal advice to assist the Panel in carrying out its functions, particularly on procedural and legal matters when hearing appeals. The Panel is also assisted by an Assistant Secretary. Both the Secretary and Assistant Secretary are solicitors and are appointed by the Sheriff Principal. The Secretary is Stewart Graham, Almada Chambers, 95 Almada Street, Hamilton ML3 OEY and the Assistant Secretary is Mrs Anne Brophy, Mediacorp House, 2 Caird Park, Hamilton ML3 0EU. Mr Graham's telephone number is 01698 282158, Mrs Brophy's telephone number is 01698 459200.  Mr Graham's fax number is 01698 891144, Mrs Brophy's fax number is 01698 459215.

Rateable values for commercial and industrial properties are fixed by the Assessor, who is an employee of Lanarkshire Valuation Joint Board. The Assessor also fixes the banding of dwellinghouses for Council Tax purposes. Disputes frequently arise as to whether or not the figure suggested by the Assessor is correct. If the matter is not capable of being resolved between the Assessor and the party concerned then the matter is regarded as a formal Appeal and is referred to the Valuation Appeal Panel for decision.

The Valuation Appeal Panel normally decides the matter by way of a hearing at which evidence is presented and legal submissions made. The Panel is a tribunal rather than a formal court and procedures are, according to the type of Appeal which is being heard, of a less formal nature than those of a court. Appeals are presented by the Assessor or one of his senior staff (or a member of the council staff in cases involving North or South Lanarkshire Council in relation to billing/finance matters) on the one hand (sometimes represented by counsel), and either the Ratepayer or Council Taxpayer personally or by a family member or friend, a surveyor, solicitor or counsel. The appeal is heard by a Committee of the Panel consisting of at least three and at most (except in special circumstances) seven Panel members with either the Secretary or the Assistant Panel Secretary acting as legal adviser. The Secretary/Assistant Secretary does not have a vote. The Committee Chairman controls the proceedings, and will give guidance and assistance as necessary during the hearing. The Committee of the Panel reaches its decision on the basis of the evidence and submissions presented at the hearing, after applying the law which is appropriate to the facts.

Sometimes appeals can be dealt with by written representations, where each party states their position in writing and the appeal is decided by a Valuation Appeal Committee on the basis of the written material, without seeing the parties face to face. The written representation procedure can be used only when the Assessor and the person appealing agree that it is suitable. It is best suited for cases where the facts are agreed and/or straightforward.

Many appeals are settled before the date fixed for a hearing by negotiations between the appellant and the Assessor.

A list of cases to be heard by a Committee of the Panel can be viewed on this website or at the Assessor's Office or at the office of the Panel Secretary.  For cases involving North or South Lanarkshire Councils regarding billing/finance matters, please speak to the Secretary.

The current Panel system was set up under S 29 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (c. 39), and the Valuation Appeal Panels and Committees (Scotland) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996 No 137).  The appeal regulations in terms of which the Valuation Appeal Panel hears appeals are, for rating (non domestic) appeals, the Valuation Appeal Committee (Procedure in Appeals under the Valuation Acts) (Scotland) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995 No 572) and, for Council Tax appeals, the Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993 No 355). The texts of these regulations can be found on the HMSO website www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/stat.htm under Statutory Instruments.

Further information about the powers and procedures of the Panel can be obtained from the Panel Secretary.