Services & Expertise

Neighbour disputes and property litigation

Neighbour disputes

Neighbour disputes can be best resolved through alternative dispute resolution and please contact our Mr Winder for further details concerning this process. The types of case he has handled are as follows:

  • Litigation regarding the position of boundaries
  • Disputes regarding the right to prune trees
  • Disputes regarding rights of way
  • The enforceability of restrictive covenants
  • Trespass to land by neighbours and what action you can take to prevent it
  • Harassment from your neighbours and what steps you can take to prevent it

Resolving your neighbour dispute by mediation

It is widely recognised that neighbour disputes can be expensive to resolve. Disputes of this type can be resolved through mediation between the parties.

The Civil Procedure Rules are the Court rules that set out how parties should resolve their disputes. The rules provide for protocols of good conduct that applies before a case comes to Court. The purpose of the protocol is to attempt to avoid cases coming to Court by encouraging parties to resolve their disputes out of Court. The protocol invites one party to write to the other setting out the nature of the dispute and what they are looking for. The letter should state a willingness to mediate. Sometimes people are not willing to mediate because matters will become acrimonious with their neighbour however mediation does allow for parties to occupy a separate room from their neighbour and the mediator will shuffle between rooms to try and resolve the matter. Whether we like it or not the Judge at Court will almost certainly insist that parties try to mediate a dispute of this type and therefore it is better to mediate before the case comes to Court and everybody has run up a huge legal bill.

The party who receives a letter from their neighbour is entitled to respond in writing setting out their views and how they would like the matter resolved. They can also state whether they wish to proceed to mediation or not. If the case cannot be resolved by mediation then the County Court provides a venue where a Judge can decide the issue. Parties are required to provide written statements of their case, serve witness statements and documents relevant to their case before a case comes to trial. If it is clear that one party has lost and one party has won then the general position is that the losing party will pay the winning party’s legal costs.

Quite often household insurance policies have legal expenses insurance which will cover the cost of resolving or contesting a neighbour dispute.

We can check your policy terms to see whether you have cover for legal costs and you should bring the policy with you to the first meeting.

Matt’s top tip

Ensure you bring your insurance policy to your first meeting. If the dispute relates to a boundary then please bring the title deeds and documents relating to your property. Even if your property has been registered with the Land Registry the old deeds and documents can help resolve a boundary dispute. We can advise you if you have a strong case which is essential to understand before you incur costs.

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