Boundary issues over hedge and panel-boarded fence

05 February 2024

Mr and Mrs P purchased their property in 2007, when it was plot 2 of a small development of houses.  They moved into their property in September 2007, and their neighbour, a single lady living with her grown-up son, Ms G, had occupied her property since the mid-1970s.  

Boundary issues arose very shortly after Mr and Mrs P moved into their property and Mr and Mrs P were concerned about the fact that there were gaps in the hedge that separated the two properties, and they noticed their neighbour would frequently come through these gaps and onto their property to water the hedge.  They, therefore, removed the hedge and erected a panel-boarded fence on what was their side of the hedge in order to secure their property. 

Unfortunately, matters escalated, and in an incident, their neighbour caused considerable damage to their fence with a chainsaw, which resulted in her being arrested for criminal damage.  The neighbour then argued that the hedge had been the boundary line, and she sought an order for an injunction that the hedge be reinstated and for financial compensation.  

A central question in this case was when the hedge had been planted and by whom. Initially the neighbour claimed that she had paid for and planted the hedge, but we managed to track down a witness who was able to confirm that her late father had paid for and planted the hedge, therefore discrediting the neighbours’ evidence. 

Both sides instructed boundary experts; in fact, the neighbour instructed several experts when their conclusions did not accord with her own views, but Mr and Mrs P’s expert firmly concluded that the boundary between the properties was entirely aligned with the side wall of the garage to their property, not the privet hedge as asserted by the neighbour.

Despite many attempts at settlement, the matter went to trial, and on the final day of the trial, the terms of an order were agreed by both sides, in Mr and Mrs P’s favour. The neighbour was legally represented throughout, but even after the trial ended, she appealed the consent order, claiming that she had not agreed to its terms. That appeal and a subsequent further appeal were thrown out, and the neighbour was ordered to pay over £50,000 in costs. That is still being repaid today.   

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