on your side

MP calls for boundary dispute resolution changes

07th January 2013

While property litigation experts will readily admit it is rare for such private members’ bill proposals to end up becoming part of the legislature, it is generally seen that Mr Elphicke’s plans will hopefully create much-needed debate on how to better handle neighbour disputes.

Many dispute resolution lawyers believe the courts are being unnecessarily congested by neighbours suing neighbours, in litigation which is costly, stressful, and, in most cases, could be avoided.

Under the system proposed by Mr Elphicke’s Bill parties to a dispute would use a procedure comparable to that which is presently used in party wall disputes.

A single, jointly appointed surveyor would be chosen to resolve the boundary issue. Alternatively, the disputing parties’ surveyors would appoint a third professional and he or she would resolve the dispute. As a last resort, appeals would be heard in the County Court.

While some may want certain aspects of the proposals to be clarified, such as assurances that referrals and awards would be registered publicly and information on what would happen if non-compliance occurred, many dispute resolution lawyers feel the time is right to change the way boundary disputes are handled in England and Wales.

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