Disputes often arise around boundaries. A boundary is a line that divides two contiguous pieces of land. It may be a physical line, such as a fence or a wall. The title documents for the land will usually identify the boundary but rarely precisely. Some of the problems can be:
- The boundary does not follow exactly the same line as the legal boundary
- The boundary issues relate to both the horizontal and the vertical boundary
- The boundary is seldom a straight line
The title deeds will generally be the first port of call for establishing the boundary line, to see if the description is sufficiently clear to enable the extent of the property to be determined.
If a boundary is interfered with or crossed, this can lead to trespass claims. Boundary disputes are often complex and uncertain. The parties are frequently emotionally involved, making settlement of the dispute more difficult, especially where the dispute involves residential homes.
In one case, a judge said that "a party can litigate over a tiny strip of land, although I would certainly agree that it is usually economic madness to do so, but a person remains entitled in law to protect and preserve that which is his or hers".
It is well worth taking advice when boundary issues arise to try to avoid the “madness”.