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Unwelcome Intrusions: Understanding Neighbour Disputes

In the tranquillity of our homes, neighbour disputes can arise as unwelcome intrusions. These disputes often stem from issues such as boundary disagreements or property rights, turning peaceful coexistence into contentious battles.

The case of Dickinson v Casillas [2017] EWCA Civ 1254 in Greater Manchester is a prime example, where a seemingly simple disagreement over access to utility meters spiralled into a 14-year legal battle. Another recent case is McGill v Stewart & Anor [2020] EWHC 3387 (QB), where a disagreement over the use of a shared access lane in Buckinghamshire led to a High Court hearing. Both cases underscore how minor issues can escalate, profoundly impacting the lives of those involved.

The Heavy Toll it Takes

Living beside a difficult neighbour can turn your home from a haven into a source of constant stress. Such disputes can lead to mental anguish, disrupt family life, and even affect your property’s value. In the cases above, what would ideally have been resolved through dialogue ended up in lengthy legal battles, causing significant financial and emotional strain. In the Dickinson v Casillas case, the prolonged battle not only strained relationships but also incurred hefty legal costs. Similarly, in McGill v Stewart, the dispute over vehicle access consumed resources and time that could have been better spent on much more important things.

Statutory Assistance

Several statutes in the UK offer some assistance with disputes between neighbours, including:

  • The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 which addresses issues related to party walls and boundary walls and can be crucial in construction or modification disputes.
  • Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 which allows homeowners to access a neighbour’s land for preservation works on their property.
  • The Noise Act 1996 which provides guidelines for acceptable noise levels and can be relevant in noise disputes.
  • The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which includes provisions for anti-social behaviour and can apply in certain neighbour disputes.
  • The Highways Act 1980 which can be relevant in disputes involving rights of way along paths or access roads bordering properties.

However, if, when, and how these laws apply has been the subject of numerous contested cases over many decades. There is rarely, if ever, a silver bullet and every case that proceeds to Court often follows a mountain of acrimony and unhappiness between the parties.

Specialised Support for Your Unique Situation

At CTT Law, we understand the delicate nature of these disputes and the importance of resolving them efficiently. Our approach is to combine expert legal advice with a focus on practical, common-sense negotiation, aiming for amicable resolutions that respect the interests of all parties while protecting your legal rights.

Our team specialises in the intricacies of property law, offering guidance on boundary disputes, rights of way, and other typical neighbour complaints. We provide tailored solutions that fit your unique situation. Where necessary, we represent you in Court, ensuring your case is presented clearly and effectively, but we strongly believe in resolving disputes without resorting to litigation wherever possible. Our skilled lawyers facilitate discussions, helping to find a middle ground and prevent future conflicts.

Need Help? Reach Out to CTT Law

If you’re entangled in a neighbour dispute, don’t let the situation fester. Contact CTT Law for expert advice and a compassionate approach aimed at resolving the conflict. Our team is dedicated to restoring your peace and protecting your rights. Get in touch with us today at [email protected] or on 01926 563 670, and let’s work together to find a solution that preserves your peace and defends your rights.

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This article does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon; it is for general information only.