boundary disputes continue to trouble the courts, frequently costing the
parties vast sums of money far exceeding the value of the land in question,
which is often a small strip fought over as a point of principle.
between neighbours is inevitably stressful and unpleasant, and can have unfortunate
long term consequences not only in terms of relations between the parties but
also if the taint of litigation damages the possibility of either party moving
house to escape, which may be the only long term solution.
25 June last year Charlie Elphicke MP presented a Private Member's Bill in
Parliament, proposing that boundary disputes should be resolved in the same way
as party wall disputes, by the early appointment of surveyors, either by the
parties jointly or by each party appointing their own. Where separately
appointed surveyors could not reach agreement, they could appoint a third
surveyor to resolve the case. Any appeals would be determined by the Upper
Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on 1 March 2013, and could
apply to commercial property disputes too. Although this form of dispute
resolution mechanism is finding favour, there is concern that it is rare for
Private Member's Bills to make it through the UK’s rigorous legislative
at the very least the second reading should spark legislative debate within
government, and perhaps clear the way for much needed legislative change in the
by Mike Scott, Partner