Neighbour dispute which spiralled out of control and racked up legal costs of over £309,000!!!
Several times I have commented on how legal fees can mount up in litigation and why at any cost litigation should be avoided sooner rather than later with the use of mediation and or any other alternative to the courts.
Unfortunately a pair of neighbours in York found this out the very hard way, they became entangled in a neighbour dispute over who should fix, repair a drain, with an estimated repair cost of £4,000, the case itself is Court vs Van Dijk & Anor.
By the time the case reached the Court of Appeal the appellant, was looking at a legal costs from the other party of £220,000, in addition to the £89,000 she had also spent / racked up, in total £309,000! Therefore to put this into perspective, this neighbour dispute actually cost the parties 77.25 times as much as it should have?!
I am not even sure where to start, why didn’t they try mediation, why didn’t they just agree to split the £4 ,000 bill, or one of them just turn and say forget this, I will just pay it?
It’s a shame, disproportionate comes to mind, but I think that is a massive underestimation, unfortunately this is yet another example of how disputes really can get out of control and the severe consequences of the same.
For a typical neighbour dispute of this kind Effective Dispute Solutions would have charged £750.00 per party for a days mediation, so the mediator cost would have been £1500.00 in total, boundary and neighbour disputes are one of our specialities imagine how much we, or any other mediation company, mediator could have saved these parties?!
I guess we shall never know, (well perhaps £309,000), I would urge all those in dispute to consider using a mediator, it does not have to be our mediation service either although we would prefer it was, save your time, energy and most importantly money for the better things in life, rather than legal costs over who should fix the drain, and similar!