Pubs Code Arbitration: The Procedure
It is not uncommon for a dispute to arise between a tied-tenant and a pub company during the MRO process. These disputes can be referred to the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) and are dealt with by way of arbitration.
Any referral to the PCA must be made within the time frames specified under the Pubs Code. The steps are as follows:
1. A formal referral is made to the PCA and an initial fee of £200.00 is paid by the tied-tenant.
2. The parties will receive information about case management from the PCA.
3. The PCA will provide the parties with proposed Directions for approval. These Directions will set out what steps need to be taken by each party. For example, the Directions with include details relating to the submission of relevant supporting documents and expert evidence.
4. Each party must prepare a document known as a “Statement of Case”. This document will detail each party’s position in relation to the dispute.
5. The majority of referrals to the PCA will be dealt with on paper, with no oral hearing.
6. The arbitrator will make a formal determination and issue what is known as an “Award”. The Award is final and binding on the parties. The Award is confidential unless the parties agree otherwise.
7. Normally, the costs of the arbitration will be paid for by the pub company unless the arbitrator decides that the tenant’s referral was vexatious or wholly without merit. The Arbitrator can apportion any other costs incurred by the parties (such as legal costs) in the Award.
8. There is no set time frame for completion of the arbitration process and, depending on the complexity of the case, resolution can take a number of months.
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