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We have recently been involved in a case that was put before the Bristol County Court. The case featured neighbours embroiled in a dispute over a proposed extension by neighbouring building owners. Due to the disagreement between the neighbouring parties it, eventually led to a legal challenge against an Award made by surveyors. Both parties were signatories to the Party Wall Agreement governed by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.


This article explores the complexity of the case and the transformative power of mediation in resolving complex neighbour disputes and saving parties’ costs and time.


In this case, I led alongside my exceptional assistant, Krystal Yan. We provided support in calming our client and bridging the language barrier among the various parties involved, including clients, counsel, mediator, and neighbours with their legal team. Our client chose the experienced Mr. Carl Fain from Tanfield Chambers, a specialist in property and chancery, to lead the mediation.


The mediation was further enriched by the appointment of independent Harry Spurr (agreed by both parties) from St John’s Chambers in Bristol who was an adept mediator with excellent interpersonal and listening skills, as well as an ability for creative problem-solving.


Together, all parties played a crucial role in successfully navigating and resolving the complexities of this dispute. This is also with the cooperation and willingness from the neighbour and their legal team.


Background of the Dispute


The appellant, our client who is the owner of the adjoining property, voiced his concerns when his adjoining neighbour sought to construct an extension within three metres of our client’s property. A dispute emerged as our client claimed that the extension trespassed onto his property, causing damage and loss.


The Award


Surveyors were appointed by both parties which rendered an Award on 15 May 2023 determining that there was no trespass and allocating costs unevenly, with 60% to be borne by our client. Our client was dissatisfied with the outcome. He instructed our firm to initiate an appeal, citing procedural errors, impartiality concerns, and disputes over jurisdiction.


Grounds for Appeal


The grounds for appeal included procedural errors, raising questions about the impartiality of the Award, and disputing the jurisdiction of the surveyors. It was our client’s position to argue that the surveyors overstepped their authority by determining the boundary and asserting no damages occurred. Additionally, the appellant contested the fairness of the cost distribution.


The Mediation Breakthrough


Although convincing our client to participate in mediation posed challenges, my colleague, Krystal Yan, showcased exceptional persuasion skills. Her ability to keep the client calm and encourage attentive consideration of our advice ultimately led to the client agreeing to engage in the mediation process.


The Transformative Power of Mediation


The resolution not only brought an end to the protracted costly legal battle but also alleviated almost a year of sleepless nights and anger experienced by our client. Mediation, often viewed as an alternative dispute resolution method, showcased its effectiveness in addressing complex neighbourly disputes. The parties left the mediation session with a renewed sense of understanding and satisfaction.




This case highlights the challenges inherent in neighbourly disputes, the intricacies of legal proceedings under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, and the transformative impact of successful mediation. As neighbours move forward, the resolution achieved through mediation serves as a testament to the value of alternative dispute resolution in fostering amicable solutions and rebuilding neighbourly relationships.


Mediation has demonstrated its effectiveness in handling intricate cases by allowing parties to focus not on the legalities but on discovering common ground and mutually acceptable solutions. The mediation process transcends the concept of winning or losing.


It’s also evident that choosing the right mediator place a vital role. It is evident that Mr Carl Fain and Mr Harry Spurr demonstrated exceptional mediation skills, embodying the qualities essential for a mediator. They have both played a pivotal role in navigating and successfully resolving the complexities of the dispute. We would highly recommend Mr Carl Fain (who is now appointed as a Recorder to sit on the South Eastern Circuit (Crime) https://www.tanfieldchambers.co.uk/person/carl-fain/ and Mr Harry Spur if you have any boundary disputes https://www.stjohnschambers.co.uk/profile/harry-spurr.


Please feel free to contact myself, Evveline Ziwei Loh at e.loh@lisaslaw.co.uk or Krystal Xu Yan at k.yan@lisaslaw.co.uk as it is always great to receive review as the ones below when we achieve client’s goal in resolving their issues. That is our firm’s pivotal role.



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