Comments on the Lands Tribunal (Amendment) Rules

The draft amendments to the Rules appear to be regular. The
only proposal the Bar would make is that under the current rule 61 relating
to appeals under the Rating Ordinance and the draft rule 78I, the choice
open to the respondent is either to (a) file a notice of opposition stating
the grounds of opposition and that he wishes to be heard, or (b)
not to do anything at all. It is not open to the respondent to file a
notice of opposition stating the grounds of opposition but elect not to
be heard in the appeal. It may well be that circumstances where the respondent
electing to file a notice of opposition and yet does not want to be heard
in the appeal must be rare, it is conceivable that there could be cases
where the grounds of opposition are so obviously meritorious that there
is really no need for the respondent to further elaborate on those grounds.
In such cases, the respondent may well elect simply to put forward the
grounds and leave the Lands Tribunal to decide on the matter.

However, if one refers to Form 7, it would quite
clear that the Form envisages that a respondent may like to oppose the
appeal but electing not to attend the appeal.

Thus the Bar suggests that in both rule 68 and the
draft 78I, the better from of wordings may be:

"The respondent shall, if he wishes to oppose the
appeal, within 21 days of the service on him of a copy of a notice
of appeal [under section 26 of the Ordinance]*, file with the Registrar
a notice of opposition substantially in accordance with Form 7 stating
the grounds of opposing the appeal and that whether
he wishes to be hear and shall serve a copy of the notice of opposition
on the appellant……"

(* only applicable to the draft rule 78I)

17th December 2001