Sir Peter Bottomley has asked the Justice Secretary for a report into the Benjamin Mire case and for a statement, but has been rebuffed.
In a Parliamentary Question for written answer, Sir Peter raised the issued of chartered surveyor Benjamin Mire, who resigned his judicial appointment to the Property Tribunal Panel following the complaints of two leaseholders.
Both Karen Darvell and Colin Dennard had confronted Benjamin Mire at the LVT in his capacity as chief executive of Trust Property Management, which had commercial connections with the freeholder Lakeside Developments.
The two were appalled to learn that Mire also sat as a panel member of the property tribunal and complained to the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office (until earlier this year the Office of Judicial Complaints).
There was a hearing in February, a report that was shown to Benjamin Mire and he resigned in July.
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara, Tory MP for North West Cambridgeshire, replied to Bottomley:
“Mr Mire’s resignation follows an investigation into his conduct under the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006 (as amended). All information gathered in the course of a judicial conduct investigation is confidential and may only be disclosed in certain circumstances as set out is sections 139 of he Constitutional Reform Act 2005. Any report prepared in accordance with the Regulations is governed by this section of the Act and cannot therefore be published.”
However, this is not the end of the matter.
LKP points out that under section 139 (6) could be applied. It states:
- (6)This section does not prevent the disclosure with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of information as to disciplinary action taken in accordance with a relevant provision.
Sir Peter is pressing the Justice Secretary and the Lord Chief Justice to issue a statement on this case.
It is certainly an injustice to Darvell and Dennard that there has been no public statement on the case of Benjamin Mire, who resigned after a hearing and the issuing of a report.
A more pressing question is whether Siobhan McGrath, who presides over the property tribunal, is confident that other panel members do not have blatant conflicts of interest.
In other words, whether other managing agents like Benjamin Mire sit on the tribunal panels as well as appear frequently before the tribunals in disputes with leaseholders.
The reasons for the resignation of Benjamin Mire are not known, but it is astonishing that he was appointed in the first place.
Benjamin Mire Resigns
Sir Peter Bottomley is seen by many of us as a Champion of the Dribbling Geriatrics, and I wish to thank him.
Benjamin Mire has resigned as he may have had a conflict of interest when he was appointed to the Property Tribunal Panel as a Judicial Appointment.
Having read the above COMMENTS and wonder why was he allowed to be in the position in the first place?
Who allowed him to apply, and then receive a formal acceptance, by who ever it was that appointed him?
Did he not see that, in the position he was being appointed too, was a conflict in his position as Chief Executive and a Freeholder?
Does this not question the judgment of this highly qualified Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the illustrious RICS who produce a COP and are part of ARMA. The RICS does no favours for its members as they are no longer the respected institution that was held, in my day by all us who were differing members of the CIOB, MBEng and other surveying bodies.
The professional surveyor has recently being shown in a poor light as the Management Agents have, especially Peverel Retirement as Managing Agents are seen to be in league with some rogue institutions who claim to protect us retirement Dribbling Geriatrics.
It beggars belief that the Judiciary who appointed him could not know his existing profession and positions as a conflict.
This unless he was appointed before he accepted the position where he would have been open to conflict of interest, in any case to accept the position?
Had he undertaken any Tribunals in the period of time he was appointed and which were the LVTs that he was part of?
As we see in all walks of life, people are placed in position of power, to be used by other, who then benefit, from the person with the power that makes decisions?
Chas, It is unknown why Mr Mire resigned and it is not established that the tribunal believed there was a conflict of interest in his role.
I take your point and apologise to Mr Mire for my presumption that it was a conflict of interest.
My view was that, as he had resigned, for a reason which we do not know, I assumed that HE felt that there may, have been a potential conflict.
The rest of my email stands
But hold on- being a qualified surveyor and freeholder should not in itself be a bar to sitting on a panel, of two or three, for obvious reasons in the experience and understanding that they bring to deliberations. Surely a conflict arises if any panel member is indirectly or directly interested in the case before them. Is the “outrage” not a case of thinking that a determination with sector wide implications might affect all business models, is not in fact a conflict of interest but the outraged wishing that the law leading to that decision were different to that which they are?
Can’t understand your point.
AM you may have missed the point. Of course there is no problem with a landlord or surveyor sitting on a Tribunal panel providing they have no direct interest in the case. The issue in this instance is that the person behind the bench appeared a little to often in front of that same bench. Its rather difficult for members of the judiciary to find their collogues in front of them in the way Mr Mire appears to have been before the Tribunal?
The problem as I see it is that being a Chartered Surveyor is not a problem, it is in my estimation a sign of a very high academic achievement.
Being a Chief Executive of Trust Property Management and a Freeholder of Lakeside Development may have been the reason he decided to resign. No one is saying that he did wrong, he was challenged by 2 leaseholders who felt that it MAY have been a conflict of interest?
Mr Mire may have felt that as two leaseholders had complained he did the right thing?
Hope you now accept your view of Mr Mire was wrong.
Has somebody eaten a dictionary for their breakfast!!!
I did try to swallow the dictionary, but it wouldn’t let me swallow the words conflict of interest?
My comments were not directed at you Chaz , I was referring to AM….. 🙂
Just because some like to use ‘industry terminolgy it doesn’t make it any more palatable or justified AM…..
Any Juror must declare an interest such as knowing a defendant or council before trying a case,
If a person putting forward a case at a tribunal is well known to those sitting on the tribunal and has even sat alongside them in cases this must lead to the suspicion of a clear conflict of interest.
Surely Mr Mire would have explained his position, prior to being accepted?
AM / Chas
The problem is that Mr Mire was well known to the LVT from both sides of the desk.. both as a judicial office holder and as a representative of freeholders in Hearings against them. His company, Trust Property Management has often been strongly criticised by the LVT for their poor management practices which are many and varied. Whilst you may say this shows that the Panel in those cases were not influenced by his being a colleague. of theris.. if there is even one case where the Panel was not entirely independent and impartial, surely as any citizen who may at any time rely on the judicial process, you would want to know absolutely that impartiality is guaranteed. As a leaseholder in that forum, with Mr Mire allowed to sit in both capacities, there is no guarantee of the requisite impartiality of the judiciary .. and that, together with the failings of Trust Property Management regardless of Mr Mire’s seemingly illustrious qualifications, is a travesty!
Well ok thats makes sense- it is not a conflict of interest but a question of standing and respect of a panel member to determine matters, and the practices and values they might bring when determining matters. it is unrealistic to insist on absolute impartiality, but you are right to expect objectivity the elimination of a conflict of interest and a person of good standing. One reason for resignation might be that for the pittance and publicity ” its not worff it guv”.
My first post’s point has been made by the replies. I am not sure where there is a conflict of interest or something wrong, only that people believe there is. Panels are constituted from a pool of members, sitting part time, and precludes a member sitting on an application for RTM or SC determination on one of their owned or managed properties, or where the parties or subject matter is associated with them. That they appear as a party and panel member(on different cases) should have no relevance or concern, due to the cast of characters and precautions in selection. In fact on the other hand their experience leads to beneficial allocation of cases.
My post therefore wondered if the objection might be one of principle, that a qualified freeholder might sit on a case where they had no interest but from which a determination might have broader implications e.g. a Phillips v Francis decision or one on insurance commission which affects them and their business. Noone however seems to be making that point. At least not so far.
I therefore wondered what the issue is and perhaps this is about reputation or perception, or association with situations where perhaps nothing unlawful or illegal was involved, but that the outcome was not one that the residents desired or were happy with. In short I have not read anything that explains the pantomime “ Boo hiss”. Obviously posters should not post allegations here for fear of libel if they choose to elaborate.
Please can you explain exactly what precautions are in place for selection onto a Panel at the LVT? I would be extremely interested to know… as for examples of an outcome not as desired? Please read extracts of the following cases all involving Mr Mire and Trust Property Management…
Case references as found on LEASE website – 4023 – “the tribunal is not impressed by the standard of management” which was “inadequate” – case ref 4213 – LVT … “we have no hesitation in recording that the way in which the Applicant and her respective agents and advisers (TPM ) have dealt with
the major works project and subsequent demands for money and the failure to respond to the legitimate enquiries made..has been appalling and is worthy of the strongest condemnation”, case ref 5337 – “We find that the report commissioned was wholly inadequate” .. there are many, many more examples. If you would like a list of cases, please let me know. It is not about illegal or unlawful necessarily, more immoral, unprofessional and being unworthy of the letters of qualification and organisation attributed to the man and the organisation.
In any judicial forum, there is an implied impartiality which is upheld as one of the tenets of rule of law … it is even articulated in Human Rights, Art 6 (1) – right to a fair Hearing … if one of the panel is “mates” to any degree with one of the parties the other side of the desk, how can this be impartial? Please clarify how you could be comfortable with that were it you?
You have a valid concern on the first point, one that I have expressed myself, where a panel member, either themselves or through their company or firm for which they are responsible, has been determined to have conducted themselves in a way that calls into question their judgement which would, in turn, be applied at an unrelated hearing.
Its quite another thing to (quantum) leap to say that someone is not getting a fair hearing if you suspect the panel members are “their mates” or that this could be regarded in the same way as a clear conflict eg sitting on a determination where the block is owned or managed by them.
Contact any local FTT and they will provide you with the information.
AM – the precautions you mentioned which are in place when selecting Panel members? Are you able to substantiate what these are?
This is the 3rd time I have tried to reply to you so I’ll try 1 last time, do contact your local FTT as they can provide you with the documentation first hand. Hope that helps.