A tribunal judge was wished a warm farewell from Chichester’s Magistrates Court today after 20 years of settling disputes.
Judge John T Tarling said ‘much had changed’ in his time on the Sussex circuit, which saw him become a leading expert on rental issues as tribunals began to cover a wider range of cases.
His departure from Chichester will be followed by the relocation of the tribunal service to Havant in December as part of the court closure.
Mr Tarling said: “The job has changed so much over 20 years. I think the health of the tribunal today is much better, it has improved and we give decisions on a greater number of types of case today.
“Thank you to the staff that work in the background, without whom we couldn’t do our job. The level of dedication is quite remarkable.”
Originally based in Brighton, Mr Tarling first became interested in his specialism when the service charge in his Sussex Heights flat rocketed to £12,000 per lease holder.
“The building was leaking,” he explained. “I joined the residents’ association and between us we negotiated a deal with the landlord.”
The group succeeded in securing a reverse loan from the landlord with no interest. A qualified solicitor, Mr Tarling also founded a company that took over management of the building, which he said housed many widows.
He was a partner in the Brighton firm, Farringdon and Whiting, where he worked until his early retirement in 2004. Following in his father’s footsteps, he was also appointed as a chairman on the South Eastern Rent Assessment Panel in 1996.
As part of the tribunal team, Mr Tarling was part of a service of legal professionals in Chichester who would make personal visits to people’s homes before deciding how best to conclude a dispute.
He oversaw many shifts in the service and was acting president of the Residential Property Tribunal Service for four years, continuing as a part-time tribunal judge after he stepped down from the role in 2013.
Judge Siobhan McGrath wished him a happy retirement on behalf of all the team.
She said: “I’ve enjoyed working with John over the last 16 years. He has been unerringly supportive and very good humoured. He expressed very sound judgement and he will be missed very much.”
Mr Tarling intends to spend more time playing golf and at his holiday home in Spain with his wife.
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