Why compromise and take legal advice are vital in neighbour disputes

31st May 2016

Why compromise and take legal advice are vital in neighbour disputes

Disputes between neighbours can quickly spiral out of control – and when they do, the financial repercussions can be severe.

Lawyers are trained to defuse ill-feeling and encourage compromise, which is why seeking expert legal advice is so important.

Failure to do so can have serious consequences – a fact emphasised in one recent court case.

A couple who engaged in a fruitless six-year boundary dispute, largely without representation, ended up having to pay their opponents’ hefty legal bills.

The owners of a neighbouring 800-acre agricultural estate took the couple to court, claiming that they had encroached over the boundary and absorbed three parcels of land into their garden. The couple began by representing themselves and instructed lawyers only when the case was well underway.

Following three lengthy hearings – two in the county court, interspersed by another in the Court of Appeal – the couple were comprehensively defeated. After hearing expert evidence and analysing documents and ordnance survey maps dating back to the 1920s, a judge found that the boundary lay along the line of a hedge, meaning that the disputed parcels of land all fell within the estate.

The facts of the case emerged as the Court of Appeal refused the couple permission to challenge the ruling.

Given the length and complexity of the case, the legal costs incurred by the owners of the estate – payable by the couple – are likely to run into six figures.

How can Gotelee help?

Sometimes disputes can’t be avoided. But before embarking on any course of action, you should in the first instance contact our Dispute Resolution Team, who can advise on how best to resolve the matter – thus saving time, and reducing costs and stress.

For more information or a no-obligation discussion about how our solicitors in Ipswich can help, contact Holly Sadler on 01473 298193 or holly.sadler@gotelee.co.uk.

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