McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Boundary Disputes

We act for many clients in relation to boundary disputes and can say categorically that they are best avoided in the first place!  That being said most of us know someone who has been involved in a boundary dispute and therefore appreciate how these matters can escalate. Such disputes seem to strike at the very notion that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”. Often one neighbour’s feelings about their boundary starts with a dislike of their neighbor or a dispute over a planning permission applied for or granted.

Although Land Registry documents provide the boundary line, a dispute can still arise about where measurements are taken from. There is also a suprising amount of unregistered land around (it was only compulsory to register in the early 1970’s in many areas).   It is possible to agree with your neighbour the boundary and have this registered with the Land Registry.  However, when a boundary is in issue, this is rarely the case. 

Where a dispute arises, our approach is to, whilst protecting the interest of our client, help the neighbours see sense as to the overall costs involved and the benefits they are trying to achieve.  This can often focus minds to achieve the quickest and fairest outcome. 

Where both neighbours obtain solicitors, a Chartered Surveyors report is often obtained.  The Chartered Surveyor will review the Land Registry documents and position on the ground and produce a report as to the possible position of the boundary line.  This may resolve the issue but often, the interpretation of the boundary is sometimes not certain.  The only way to therefore definitively determine the boundary line, in the event that the parties cannot agree, is through the Courts or Tribunal.  The costs, in such a case could easily escalate into the tens of thousands.

Ultimately, as with all disputes, it is a matter of assisting as to the legal position but also addressing the practicalities on the ground, the costs involved and a healthy dose of common-sense.

Categories: Civil Litigation

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