The Supreme Court

Reference Committe

Property Arbitration

Where there is compulsion to sell land or grant a right across land to the State, the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act 1919  provides for questions of disputed compensation to be determined at arbitration by a property arbitrator. This is known as statutory arbitration. Currently, there are five professional arbitrators who carry out the property arbitration function:

  1. Mr. Desmond Boyle, FRICS, FSCSI, MCIArb, RICS Registered Valuer
  2. Mr. Donal Ffrench O’Carroll, FRICS, FSCSI, FCIArb, MLitt (Dub), DipLS
  3. Mr. Brian Gilson, BSc, FRICS, FSCS, FCI Arb, RICS Registered Valuer
  4. Mr. Paul Good, FRICS, FRSCI Accredited Mediator
  5. Mr. Cormac Meehan, BBS, FRICS, FSCSI, MCIArb


The Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act 1919 provides that any question of disputed compensation is to be determined by an official arbitrator to be appointed by the Reference Committee which consists of the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and the President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.  The property arbitrator’s role is carried out independently of any state agency and each arbitrator is answerable only to the courts. Property arbitrators are appointed to a panel for a fixed period and the term for the current panel is due to expire on 25 June 2025.


Procedure to appoint a property arbitrator

Either of the parties, be it the claimant (landowner) or the acquiring authority (local or public authority) can apply for the nomination of a property arbitrator to determine the question of disputed compensation. Applicants complete an application form which sets out in summary the nature of the claim along with the names of the parties.

The application fee/stamp duty is €31.74 and can be paid by forwarding a fee card with the amount paid in stamp duty or postal order made payable to the Courts Service or Chief Clerk, Dublin Metropolitan District.

Applications are made to Ms. Sinead Mehlhorn who the Secretary of the Reference Committee and should be returned to the following address: The Secretary, Land Values Reference Committee, Supreme Court, The Four Courts, Dublin 7. The Secretary can be contacted by e-mail at [email protected].

The Secretary selects an arbitrator from the panel and sends a copy of the application form to him for consideration of the appointment/nomination so as to ensure that there will be no conflict of interest and so that the prospective appointee may decide whether he can act in the case. 

When no conflict confirmed, the Secretary then seeks consent in writing to the appointment of the arbitrator from the President of the High Court and President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.  Nomination papers are then prepared and sent to the Chief Justice for signature as Chairperson of the Reference Committee together with both assent letters from the other members of the Committee.

When the order for the nomination of a property arbitrator is made a copy of the order is sent to the two parties and to the arbitrator (with the supporting material forwarded with the application).


Communication from a property arbitrator on appointment

Upon their appointment, a property arbitrator may write to the parties to seek a meeting to discuss any issues to be considered as part of the arbitration process. Parties should expect to have the following information ready for consideration:

  1. The identities of the parties - the claimant and the respondent and their legal advisers (if any)
  2. What preliminary issues are to be resolved (if any)
  3. The nature of dispute
  4. What documents are to be considered by the property arbitrator
  5. List of witnesses likely to be asked to give evidence at the arbitration
  6. The location of hearing if applicable
  7. The expected duration of the arbitration
  8. Contact details for the parties
  9. Timescale by which a decision is required


Format of decisions of a property arbitrator

Parties to a property adjudication can expect a reasoned award. The following template of issues covered in awards of Property Arbitrators is not exhaustive but gives an indication of the broad format and issues which may considered by Property Arbitrators in making their awards:

  • Nature of the claim – CPO, right of way, wayleave
  • Description and dimensions of land at issue
  • Outline of when and where the arbitration took place and who was in attendance on both sides
  • Outline of who gave evidence
  • Legislation considered
  • Case law considered
  • Summary of arguments advanced by applicant
  • Summary of arguments advanced by respondent
  • Reasons for decision

(a) reasons for per area amount of compensation

(i) whether disturbance applied

(ii) whether severance and injurious affection applied

(b) approval of witness costs, costs liability and implications of unconditional offers (if applicable)