James McAllister LL.M BSc(Hons) DipArb FRICS FCIArb FFPWS MPTS is a Chartered Building Surveyor, Certified & Accredited Commercial Mediator and Arbitrator. As an experienced practitioner in the specialist fields of Dilapidations and Party Walls, he is the founder and Managing Director of both The Dilapidations Consultancy and The Party Wall Consultancy and is recognised as an expert in both disciplines.
James graduated from the University of the West of England, Bristol, with an honours degree in Building Surveying in 1994. He then qualified as a Chartered Surveyor with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in 1996 as a professional Member (MRICS) and was made a Fellow (FRICS) in 2017. James was admitted as an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb) in 2006 and was upgraded to a Member (MCIArb) in 2012. In 2016 he was was made a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). James joined the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors as a Fellow (FFPWS) in 2009. In 2011 James was admitted as an individual Member of the Civil Mediation Council (CMC) and in 2015 he was approved as a CMC Registered Mediator. James is also an Associate Member of The Pyramus & Thisbe Society (MPTS).
James has continued his academic studies throughout his career achieving a distinction in his master's law degree in 2013, a diploma in Arbitration in 2016 and a Commercial Mediation Practitioner's Certificate in 2011 following a course of study and specific training for the role of Commercial Mediator. James completed the RICS Expert Witness Certificate in 2023.
James is regulated by RICS and holds a current practice certificate.
James' Professional and Expert Witness CVs for both his specialist disciplines can be downloaded below:
James has personally prepared, negotiated and settled over 2,000 commercial dilapidations claims without once having to pursue or defend his clients' claims in court. With an unblemished record in claim settlement he is therefore one of very few dilapidations practitioners to have successfully used his skills in dispute resolution to elicit non-contentious settlement over such a vast body of work, thereby avoiding his clients the cost and stress of going to court. This approach to dispute avoidance prompted him to qualify as a Commercial Mediator specialising in dilapidations disputes to assist other practitioners, and their clients, in achieving early settlement without recourse to litigation.
James acts for corporate landlords and tenants and his clients include blue chip corporations, international embassies, government bodies, local authorities, utility authorities, charities, family trusts and estates as well as high net worth private individuals. James is regularly appointed to advise other practitioners including Chartered Surveyors, Chartered Accountants and Solicitors.
James has acted as Expert Witness on landlord and tenant disrepair disputes in accordance with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR Part 35) for claims brought in the County Court and High Court. He has also appeared as an Expert Witness before the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT).
More recently, James has been appointed by corporate clients to undertake an independent forensic analysis on the performance of other dilapidations consultants previously appointed by the client where the claim has resulted in court action. This is a service James offers in addition to Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) which is a pre-litigation independent opinion on the validity of a claim and likely outcome.
James lectures widely on dilapidations for Universities, Government Agencies and professional CPD organisations and regularly contributes articles for a variety of online publications, professional bodies and peer-reviewed journals. He holds an upper second class (with honours) Bachelors degree in Building Surveying and was awarded a distinction in his Masters degree in Advanced Commercial Property Law at Northumbria University coming top of the course. His research thesis was entitled: 'In need of repair?: A critical review of the law concerning the interpretation of repairing obligations in business tenancies'. James also holds a diploma in Arbitration and qualified as an Arbitrator in 2016.
In 2016 James was appointed by one of the UK's leading Universities in real estate to write the syllabus content for Dilapidations and Party Walls.
James is also an experienced and sought-after practitioner in the field of Party Walls and neighbourly disputes. James has acted as a Party Wall Surveyor under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 since it came in to force on 1 July 1997, and, prior to that, under the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939 for properties in the London area.
James has drafted and served hundreds of Party Wall Awards and regularly acts as Third Surveyor. He has successfully enforced his Awards for costs in the Magistrates' Court under section 17 of the Act on numerous occasions and regularly advises parties in the matter of appeals in the County Court pursuant to section 10(17) of the Act. In 2016 James was instrumental in the landmark High Court decision The Queen on the application of Farrs Lane Developments Limited v Bristol Magistrates' Court and James McAllister  EWHC 982 where he was an Interested Party. This decision ultimately clarified the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 on the subject of determination and enforcement of Surveyors' costs in favour of the interpretation of the Act advanced by James. This decision has substantially widened the jurisdiction of Party Wall Surveyors in the determination and enforcement of Surveyors' costs under the Act and is now settled law.
James has acted independently as an Expert Witness in Party Wall and neighbourly disputes in accordance with Part 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR Part 35) and accepts appointments as Single Joint Expert (SJE) within his areas of expertise.
James regularly contributes articles on Party Walls practice and procedure for a variety of online publications, professional bodies and peer-reviewed journals. In 2009 James appeared on BBC Radio 4 to discuss Party Wall matters and neighbourly disputes from a practitioner's perspective.
James is frequently appointed to provide pre-notification advice to Architects, Engineers, Developers and Local Authorities. As a recognised expert in Party Wall matters, James regularly advises other Chartered Surveyors and Solicitors on Party Wall practice and legal procedure.
James is popular with clients in all sectors for his ability to provide both practical and strategic advice which he then successfully applies to resolving disputes efficiently and effectively.
Due to the rising number of Party Wall Awards being appealed, and the desire of the involved parties to resolve the points of appeal without the cost, stress and time imposed by the standard court appeal procedure, James has launched a dedicted Mediation & Arbitration service through The Party Wall Consultancy. This service allows the parties to explore ADR through a suitably qualified and experienced dispute-resolver, whilst the appeal proceedings are stayed, with the prospect of reaching settlement without the uncertainty and litigation risk of a traditional section 10(17) appeal to court.
Despite having prepared and served several hundered Party Wall Awards over his career, James has only had 6 Awards appealed, 5 of these appeals were dismissed with the court ultimately upholding his Awards in their entirety. James has never had an Award successfully appealed where he has acted as the Agreed Surveyor. The handed down judgments* in each of these cases are provided below. Also provided below is the approved judgment* in The Queen on the application of Farrs Lane Developments Limited v Bristol Magistrates' Court and James McAllister  EWHC 982 which proceeded by way of Judicial Review in the High Court where James was an Interested Party and was successful in pursuading both the Magistrates Court and the High Court to adopt his interpretation of the Act on a point of law.
* We accept no responsibility or liability for the information provided in the judgment transcripts which are a matter of public record.