on your side

High Court showdown for disputing neighbours

18th June 2013

This is well demonstrated by a long-running dispute between two homeowners in East London. In fact, the case is a Tale of Two Doctors, one an academic with a doctorate and other a legal advisor with a doctorate.

Their five-year dispute centres on a hedge, which, standing at 22ft tall is blocking the passage of light into one of the homeowners houses – she is demanding that it be reduced to a more manageable height of around 8ft. “I’m a keen gardener and I can’t grow anything. I work in my front room downstairs and have to have electric light because it is that dark,” she said.

However, the party to the neighbour dispute is uncowed, claiming that the council is on his neighbour’s side and is conducting a “vendetta” against him.

Under the 2004 High Hedge Act it is stated that plants bordering properties should be no more than 6ft 6in in height, while council’s are at liberty to cut hedges back if they are clear that it is restricting a complainant’s enjoyment of their home.

Of course, it would have been ideal if the parties to the neighbour dispute had settled it using Alternative Dispute Resolution, adjudication, or mediation. However, it is too late for these means now – the case is now being heard at the High Court and it has already cost the local authority involved around £20,000.

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