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Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips On Tenancy Deposit Disputes 20: Being Polite

Tip 20: Be Polite
The adjudication process is a cheaper, and sometimes quicker, alternative to going to pursuing a small claim and, just as in court, deposit disputes are decided by an unbiased, independent professional, with a good understanding of the law. In adjudication, as in court, the decision is binding upon you. One significant difference between the two, however, is that the parties to deposit disputes have to consent to their claim being settled by adjudication, whereas you may have to go to court, even though you would rather not.
In court, common ways of addressing the bench include Ma’am, Sir, Your Honour and My Lord, depending on circumstance, all of which are terms of respect that reflect the judge’s position of responsibility and power. I’m not suggesting that you should address the adjudicator as Sir or Ma’am in your statement of case. Judges, after all, have earned their respect and been appointed by the Queen, whereas adjudicators are professional office workers, in the employ of a private company. I would, however, ask you to consider that adjudicators are human, and that being unnecessarily rude to them may not advance your case.
Your statement in a deposit dispute is equivalent to your testimony in court. It is your primary means of imparting information to the person who will decide your case. I have heard of statements that openly threaten to personally sue the adjudicator if the case is not decided in their favour, or which refer to them in derogatory terms. Although adjudicators, to their credit, will always decide claims objectively on the facts, claimants who are impolite are hardly getting off on the right foot, especially in view of the fact that they voluntarily consented to the process.
If you don’t feel the system will decide your claim fairly, don’t use it. If you choose to use the system, manners cost nothing.
Tom Derrett is the Principal of Deposit Claim, an ex-adjudicator and an expert on the Deposit Protection Schemes.

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