The case had been determined under the Residential Property Dispute Deployment Pilot, which enables certain judges to sit as both FTT judges and as district judges. The appellant landlord issued a claim in the county court to recover unpaid service and administration charges. The county court transferred the matter to the FTT under s.176A of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. The FTT found for the landlord. It then determined all the costs incurred both in the county court and the FTT, treating them as "costs claimed contractually as administration charges". The landlord was awarded about half the sum claimed. The UT allowed the landlord’s appeal and gave some guidance on the scheme.
The UT held that the FTT did not have jurisdiction to determine the amount of the post-issue legal costs. In a case transferred from the county court, the FTT’s jurisdiction was confined to the question transferred only. This was not affected by the Pilot. The FTT’s jurisdiction to award costs was tightly circumscribed. Following a transfer the FTT had no jurisdiction to determine the costs incurred in the country court and the FTT after the issue of the proceedings as those costs fell to be determined under the Senior Courts Act 1981 s.51. The FTT had therefore erred when deciding the costs on the basis that they were variable administration charges subject to Sch.11, para.2 of the 2002 Act; the issue of their reasonableness had not been referred to the FTT and the FTT therefore lacked jurisdiction. The UT also gave guidance on the Pilot stressing that although a judge might sit as both an FTT and a district judge, the two jurisdictions could not be elided. The FTT only had costs jurisdiction so far as permitted by s 13 of Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013 or pursuant to an application under Sch.11 para.5A of the 2002 Act. Tenants who wanted costs to be determined as an administrative charge would therefore have to consider whether to make an early applications under Sch.11 para.5A, both to the county court and to the FTT. In the alternative, the FTT judge could sit alone as a district judge to determine costs under s. 51 of the 1981 Act following determination of the substantial issues in the FTT. Where that course was contemplated, adequate notice had to be given to the parties and the case had to be listed for hearing both before the FTT and the FTT judge sitting alone as a district judge. Further, the judge had to be very clear about which role was being performed, and the other FTT members were not to be involved in the costs decision under s. 51 of the 1981 Act. Finally, the UT further held (obiter) that an FTT Judge sitting as a district judge has the power to give effect to the FTT's decision by way of court order under s.176A(3) of the 2002 Act provided the parties had been given a proper opportunity to make submissions.