Valuation Appeal Committee
Most appeals are settled amicably between the Assessor and the Ratepayer, Council Tax payer or appointed agent. However, if a settlement cannot be achieved the appeal is heard by an independent Valuation Appeal Committee. Members are drawn from an Appeal Panel appointed by the Sheriff Principal and are independent of the Assessor, local council or Valuation Joint Board.
Committees are assisted by a Secretary, usually a qualified solicitor (also appointed by the Sheriff) who provides advice on matters relating to the law or procedure. The Secretary takes no part in the decision making process. Members of the Panel are usually unqualified in valuation or legal matters but are appointed because they are local ratepayers or council taxpayers.
The proceedings are relatively informal, but witnesses can be called and are normally placed on oath by the Committee Chairman or Secretary. A Committee is usually made up of a chairperson and between 3 and 6 members, assisted by a Secretary. Sometimes Assessors will conduct their own case or be represented by a senior member of their staff. At other times they will be represented by an Advocate or Counsel. Ratepayers and Council Tax payers are entitled to appear in person to present their own case or can be legally represented. A surveyor, family member or friend can also appear on behalf of the appellant.
The Chairman is responsible for the conduct of the hearing and will give advice and guidance as to the procedure to be followed at any time during the hearing.