‘Practice & Procedure & Compensation’

The Compulsory Purchase Order is the Modern vestige of Victorian Railway Law, (the DOT COM bubble of its era), and still reliant on the same legislation.  Its procedures are non-mainstream and wholly reliant on its own statutory code.

Notice of a Compulsory Purchase is an unwelcome and disturbing intrusion into private property rights, unfortunately suffered in the public interest and frequently lasting for years.  The public’s answer is to offer compensation, as stated by former Chief Justice Keane, at “nothing less than the total loss suffered”.  The ascertainment of that total loss is, however, elusive, frequently resulting in an entitlement to Arbitration.  That costs are paid on a Solicitor Client basis demonstrates the “totality” of that estimate of compensation.

The Law is based upon a well worn path, emanating from the Private Acts of the 19th Century, when each and every Railway scheme required an Act of Parliament.  The modern system is to replace such acts by a Compulsory Purchase Order but, just like the Railway Acts, the validity each Order depends upon some Statutory entitlement.  Acquisitions nowadays are by Public Bodies rather than Private Companies but the basis of assessment of Compensation, however, remains unchanged since 1919.

Topics Covered include:

  • The legal framework
  • The terminology used
  • The preliminary planning process
  • The making of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)
  • Objections and Oral Hearing
  • Confirmation of the CPO
  • Exercise of the Power of the CPO and Notice to Treat
  • The switch to an onus to claim Compensation
  • The appointment of a Valuer
  • The making of a claim
  • Importance of correct statement of Title
  • Severance and Injurious Affection
  • Disturbance
  • The gathering of evidence
  • The negotiation
  • Land Values Reference Committee
  • The Arbitration
  • The Unconditional Offer
  • Case stated
  • The costs
  • Making Title and Completion
  • Interest.


Gavin Ralston SC is a Senior Counsel and former Chartered Surveyor.  After practicing as a Surveyor for 20 years he was called to the Bar in 1987 and commenced practice as a Barrister. As might be expected, his practice gravitated to all matters Property, including Land Law, Conveyancing, Planning, Landlord and Tenant and Compulsory Purchase. He took silk in 2001 and has been involved in several high profile cases, including the challenge to the Constitutionality of the Ground Rents Acts in the Shirley case and the Supreme Court decision on Compensation in the Chadwick Case.  He has been involved in multiple Compensation and Part V Arbitrations.

Category of CPD: Category A (General)
Duration: 1 Hour


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