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The Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill
Once neighbours become embroiled in a boundary or right of way dispute, it can get messy and expensive very quickly! All too often, nothing short of a Court order will resolve the dispute.
A Private Members’ bill was introduced in the House of Lords in 2012 proposing that expert determination of such disputes should be mandatory in an attempt to try and limit the amount of claims ending up in Court. Amendments were made to the bill in subsequent sessions but later withdrawn. The bill was re-introduced to the House of Lords on 13 July 2017, the second reading to debate all aspects of the bill has yet to be scheduled. Given the time required by Brexit legislation, it may take a while to progress.
The bill introduces for the first time an obligation on parties in disputes over boundaries to follow an expert determination procedure involving the appointment of up to three suitably qualified surveyors.
Whilst it is hoped that the procedure will help some parties to resolve disputes at an early stage, there are still concerns that complex boundary disputes will be determined without a detailed analysis of the legal position which falls outside the remit of a surveyor. There is also concern that other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution are not permitted in the bill. It will be interesting to see whether the above concerns are resolved as the bill progresses to the second reading and Committee stages, or whether the bill, as currently drafted, proceeds without amendment to the statute books.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.