Law Commission review the Code

The Law Commission have produced a consultation paper, ‘The Electronic Communications Code’ which was published on 28 June 2012. They have asked for comments to be submitted in the consultation period up to 28 October 2012. They will produce a report in spring 2013 of their findings.

Their main aim is to assess the balance struck by the Code between the rights of electronic communications operators and landowners.

The Law Commission comment ‘In our Consultation Paper, we identify the problems with the current Code and ask consultees how these should be dealt with in a revised code. Two central questions concern the test to be used in a revised code for granting code rights to an operator where a landowner objects, and the measure of the financial award to be paid to the landowner where an operator is granted such rights. We ask, too, about the means by which code disputes are resolved, with a view to offering a proportionate and efficient process in an appropriate forum delivering timely outcomes. We also consider the interaction between the Code and other statutory regimes.’

The Estates Gazette comment ‘Bearing in mind that so many disputes under the Code involve valuation issues, the commission has invited views on whether such issues could be more appropriately dealt with by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). The Commission will also consider the option of an alternative dispute resolution process, such as that used for party wall disputes.’

Another mechanism being considered by the Law Commission in their review is the option of permitting the landowner and operator to “contract-out” of the Code in a similar way to the process under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

The Law Commission will also examine the implications for the Code of the rapid changes in technology and the telecommunications industry and consider how best to “future-proof” the Code to allow for technological developments.

In addition, the Law Commission is proposing that the 1954 Act should no longer apply to Code apparatus.

Cell:cm Chartered Surveyors have contributed to the consultation process and await the results of the report and the Government’s implementation of the proposals.

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