Land disputes between neighbours have a way of getting out of hand but lawyers are trained to defuse emotions and reach cost-effective resolutions. In one case in which compromise sadly proved elusive, an apparently minor falling out over a right of way had to be resolved at great expense by a High Court judge.
There was no dispute that property developers who owned a former poultry farm had a right of way over a couple’s adjoining land. The precise location of the boundary between the two properties was, however, disputed and the developers had accused the couple of reducing, or otherwise interfering with, their right of way.
In ruling on the case following a four-day hearing, the judge, preferred the couple’s evidence and upheld their arguments as to the location of the boundary. She also, amongst other things, rejected the developers’ claims that the couple had reduced the width of the right of way by failing to maintain trees and a shrubbery.
However, a gate that the couple had installed did amount to an interference with the right of way. The judge ordered them to pay £1 nominal damages in respect of the gate and issued an injunction requiring its removal. The developers, however, were directed to pay £300 damages after removing another gate from the right of way that was the couple’s property. The net £299 payable by the developers to the couple was dwarfed by the very substantial legal costs of the case.
Kingsgate Development Projects Limited v Jordan & Anr. Case Number: HT-2016-000098