020 7792 5649

Hi, How Can We Help You?

Boundary Disputes - Solicitors And The Court

solicitors
Before deciding to go to court on a boundary dispute, ask your Solicitor to explain how the prospects of success in your matter are affected by the principles set out in the case of Acco Properties Limited v Severn [2011] EWHC 1362 (Ch).

The principles in the above case are widely referred to by boundary dispute Solicitors in England and Wales because Judge Simon Barker QC, sitting as a High Court Judge helpfully summarised the principles to be applied. These principles are:-

For registered land, the file plans usually show only general boundaries and not the exact line of the boundaries (this means that the plan of your boundary held at the Land Registry is simply a guide and not an accurate definition of your boundary).

Ordnance Survey plans are usually no more than a general guide to boundary features and should not be scaled up to delineate an exact boundary (as above, these plans are not an accurate definition of your boundary).

The starting point is the language of the conveyance, aided by the conveyance plan, or guided by the plan if it is stated as being definitive. (the original conveyance of the property, which may be several hundreds of years old can give helpful information to determine the original boundary - boundaries can change over time and therefore, it is the original boundary that the Court will be seeking to clarify).

If the conveyance does not bring clarity, recourse may be had to extrinsic evidence, such as features which existed at the time of the conveyance (this can be trees, hedgerows or even ditches).

Admissible extrinsic evidence may include evidence of subsequent conduct if this is probative of what the parties intended.

Evidence of features post-dating the conveyance may or may not be relevant.

It is important to bring certainty to the boundary, rather than leaving it 'fuzzy at the edges'.

Where a boundary line can be determined by reference to a conveyance, other evidence may establish a different boundary as a result of adverse possession.

An informal boundary agreement need not be in writing, because it demarcates an unclear boundary rather than transferring an interest in land.

Boundary agreements are usually oral, but can be inferred or implied.

The court must also have regard to what a reasonable layman would think he was buying.

As per my previous article, the majority of homeowners would look straight at their Title Plan and if it shows in their favour, they will be adamant they are right! This is generally where things start to go wrong and Solicitors become instructed. At this stage, any hope of resolving the dispute informally disappears.

My advice to anyone who has a boundary dispute is that in the first instance, try to keep relations with your neighbour as civil as possible. The papers and internet is full of stories of boundary disputes costing hundreds of thousands of pounds to resolve. Avoid this!! If things are kept civil with your neighbour, it may be possible to resolve the matter without Solicitors becoming involved.

There are ways to resolve your dispute without the necessity of spending a considerable amount of money on legal fees. In my next blog, I will write about an alternative to litigation and Solicitors which could save you thousands of pounds.

Richard Howlett is a Partner at Selachii LLP in London - 02077925649.

Get legal advice

Complete the form below and we will be in touch to arrange a consultation.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
lrs logo 2016MLA 2017 18 Shortlisted 2

Want Selachii’s help?

Call us now

020 7792 5649

arrange a consultation

Accreditations

MLA 2017 18 Shortlisted 2