Alex Frame (President of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors) www.fpws.org.uk was selected as a Third Surveyor, awards excessive damages.
His son Stuart Frame is junior counsel at Tanfield Chambers www.tanfieldchambers.co.ukwho specializes in party wall matters, and Alex Frame, therefore, has unrestricted and FREE access to legal advice. Alex Frame’s Award was appealed. The Respondents had instructed Mr Nick Isaac QC (also of Tanfield Chambers).
Mr S Kelly of Staple Inn Chambers www.stapleinn.co.ukacted for the Appellants and interestingly Mr Stuart Frame was previously junior counsel at Staple Inn before moving to Tanfield Chambers as junior counsel.
Alex Frame’s Award dealt with damage caused to the Respondents property specifically drainage. Mr Frame awarded £16,850.72for works needed to repair the damaged sewer pipe.
The matter came before HHJ Johns QC and in a surprisingly brief but detailed judgment extending to 7 pages, the appeal was rejected on some but not all grounds. The one surprising aspect of this particular appeal, related to the compensation awarded £16,850.72 by Mr Alex Frame. It was agreed by both the Appellants and Respondents that the sum awarded by Mr Frame should be reduced to £8,890.28.
If both parties accepted that the correct damages were £8,890.28 it is difficult to understand how Mr Alex Frame could have reached the figure of £16,850.72!!
Mr Alex Frame did not inspect the properties and therefore it is correct to assume that he made his decision based on submissions from the party’s representatives (BOS and AOS), so how did he determine £16,850.72!!
Mr Alex Frame clearly made a mistake and given the harsh treatment handed down by Mr Stuart Frame against Mr Lee Kyson www.lkbc.co.uk/fpwsfor a “near mistake” it is reasonable to expect Mr Alex Frame to face the same disciplinary action from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.
After all, the rules should apply to all members including the President. The President cannot/should not avoid disciplinary action because of the old boy network! Indeed, if Boris can be held accountable it would follow that Mr Alex Frame should also be accountable.
If the Faculty is to demonstrate any degree of credibility, Mr Alex Frame should report himself and face the consequences.
Another interesting aspect of the appeal is the absence of Mr Alex Framebeing named as a Respondent. It is of course correct that the surveyors whose Award is being appealed should be named as Respondent and exposed to legal costs.
Indeed, Mr Frame’s son, Stuart Frame (Evans v Patterson, Harris, Newton and McAllister 2021 in the Country Court of Central London case number G20CL068) made sure that the surveyors whose Award was being appealed (Newton & McAllister) were named as Respondents, and indeed as a consequence were exposed to substantial legal costs.
So, the question I ask is why was Mr Alex Frame not included as a Respondent and thereby exposed to legal costs? One for Mr Isaac QC to explain.
Indeed, in a recent appeal where Mr Stuart Frame is representing a Mr & Mrs Capper against a Third Surveyors Award, he also excluded the Third Surveyor!!!, which is inconsistent with his approach in the Evans case. Why? Let’s think about that for a few minutes.
Interestingly in Capper v Macey Stuart Frame wrongly included me, thus, exposing his clients Mr & Mrs Capper to legal costs for the discontinuance of myself from the appeal. It was the Third Surveyors Award that was being appealed and he should have been included but was not?
So, why is there this inconsistency in the approach adopted by various barristers. It does make it rather bizarre and frustrating to understand why each appeal is treated/approached differently (or is it perhaps that some surveyors are targeted for different treatment).
Perhaps it will remain one of life’s mysteries that is generally associated with the inconsistent administration of the Party Wall Act and the legal procedures.
A very relevant point for debate.