Noise, fencing, building encroachment, failing retaining walls, stormwater nuisance, neighbouring trees … the list goes on. A myriad of things can sour good neighbourly relations.

What may start out to be a very minor issue can quickly escalate when emotions run high, language or actions are misinterpreted, insults exchanged, threats are made …. misunderstanding and acrimony festers.

Some issues can involve simple legal or negotiated cures. As lawyers we are often dragged into a quagmire of mixed emotions in neighbour disputes – our job is to find the middle ground, defuse, and resolve.

It would be safe to say, that most, if not all, litigators view litigation as a last resort. Resolving a dispute without calling in the Court referee is always preferred. A mediated outcome allows the disputing parties a chance to buy into the resolution of the problem.

Early intervention is the key, and it can save a world of angst.

Litigation should only be contemplated when a mediated outcome is exhausted. The Court will look at the conduct of the parties leading up to the commencement and carriage of the proceedings – so care should always be taken to act objectively and dispassionately in conducting any pre-litigation negotiations.

Our Property and Planning team have a wealth of experience in navigating all manner of neighbourly dispute, offering sage advice and objective outcome pathways.

This article is not legal advice.  It is intended to provide commentary and general information only.  Access to this article does not entitle you to rely on it as legal advice.  You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your own situation.  Please contact us if you require advice on matters covered by this article.

Paul Jayne

Paul Jayne -

Consultant

Environmental planning and property law specialist