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Neighbour disputes - Is it 'wheelie' worth it?

  • Posted

In December 2013, a neighbour dispute escalated to the Royal Courts of Justice in relation to a wheelie bin and whether it should be allowed to be positioned on a shared driveway.

This somewhat bizarre case arose when Mr Ali (the Defendant) was taken to Court by his next-door neighbour, Mr Suleman, as Mr Ali continually blocked a shared right of way with his wheelie bin.

A right of way can de described as a ‘legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass along a specific route through grounds or property belonging to another’.

The Court found that neither party should leave their bins on the shared driveway. Additionally, no damages were awarded. However, the Court found that Mr Ali should pay Mr Suleman’s legal fees. The legal fees were initially £36,000 before an agreement on costs was reached at the figure of £15,733.

Mr Ali himself acknowledges that the dispute was “really unbelievable” and “absurd”, which begs the question as to why he insisted on blocking the shared right of way with his wheelie bin?

This case serves as a reminder of the financial implications of taking a neighbour dispute to Court, but it also highlights the Court’s approach when a neighbour blocks a right of way.

This case also acts as an example of the Court’s approach to proportionality. Although it may be frustrating that a neighbour behaves in an unreasonable manner, the law may not always have an answer to your dispute. By entering into litigation you are also putting yourself at risk of a large cost liability should you not be successful with your action. Before issuing a claim against your neighbour, legal advice should always be sought to consider the strengths of your case.

After the trial, Mr Ali spoke with journalists outside the Court. When asked if he could afford to pay his neighbour’s legal fees, Mr Ali admitted that he would probably have to re-mortgage his home. Unfortunately, this is one of the stark realities of entering into lengthy litigation with your neighbour.


    • Dustbin War Alison Taylor
    • Posted

    This is obviously very extreme spending such a huge amount of money and allowing the situation to escalate to such a degree. However I can appreciate how such a matter can really get under your skin and prove to be really annoying.


    About a year go neighbours decided to make a small garden area at the back of their house, even though on on tarmac. They made it very nice, but didn't accommodate their dustbin however and have been tagging it onto the end of their plot. This however is my land. What's more it makes it awkward to get in and out of my outhouse,especially with bulkier items. I have written them a letter politely requesting they accommodate their bin on their area. This has been ignored on all levels. I can't say I want to go down the path of taking legal action and spending mega bucks, but people as audacious as this shouldn't be allowed to get away with not respecting other people's space and blatantly being so inconsiderate.

    If anyone has any words of advice I would be grateful as I've tried moving it periodically and it just keeps being moved back. Grrr! 

    Response from Stephensons

    We are sorry to hear you are having problems with your neighbours. This case represents an extreme example, we do find most cases settle, often an initial solicitor’s letter can resolve issues. It may also be that your local authority have a mediation service that will assist you and we recommend you make enquiries.