Stepping Over The Boundary – The Property Chronicle
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Stepping Over The Boundary Mediating residential boundary disputes

The Guest Essay

A couple of weeks ago I found myself deep in the Cotswolds. Two middle-aged neighbouring couples on a very pleasant estate of modernish detached houses had fallen out over the exact position of the legal boundary. There were the usual allegations of an encroaching extension, a wrongly positioned replacement fence and over-hanging guttering. The mediation bundle contained the inevitable documents: office copies of each registered title with filed OS plans, ancient conveyances with crayon-coloured drawings, scores of poorly copied photographs of the site before, during and after erection of the offending structures, numerous meticulously prepared land survey drawings with ingenious transparent overlays together with accompanying surveyors’ reports expressing great confidence in perfectly opposite opinions, letters from neighbours and previous owners, aerial photographs of various vintages, counsel-drafted pleadings bandying trespass, nuisance, encroachment, obstruction, verbal abuse, threatened assault, damages and interest. Court approved costs budgets for eye-watering sums, most of which had already been spent. Oh, and funding notices indicating legal expenses insurance on each side – generally a most unwelcome additional obstacle to settlement and the bane of the mediator’s professional life (think late afternoon, settlement in principle…and a wrecking ball delivered by telephone from an insurance company).

The Guest Essay

About Alistair Pye

Alistair Pye

Alistair Pye has been described as a “a magician: an intractable dispute, resolved, with smiles and handshakes.” Alistair has been mediating for over 10 years (full time since 2014) and has since developed one of the busiest practices in the UK. He has conducted over 400 mediations, now averaging around 75 a year. His straight talking, imaginative style has led to resolution of all types of civil and commercial disputes, from modest claims to complex multi-party cases up to £20 million in value. Qualified as a solicitor and, more recently, a barrister Alistair comes from a background in all types of commercial, insurance and property disputes. In the latter half of his legal career Alistair practiced as a specialist construction and insurance solicitor-advocate with an international legal practice. He has represented contractors, construction professionals and their insurers in some of the biggest and most complex disputes in the UK – in the courts, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. Alistair can be appointed through In Place of Strife, The Mediation Chambers at

Articles by Alistair Pye

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