Boundary disputes have a reputation – they are a messy business.

The costs connected with resolving boundary disputes can, and often do, outweigh the intrinsic value of the interest in land under consideration, frustrate the use of land and buildings and impede property transactions.

Currently there is no legislation directing parties in dispute as to how they may resolve their differences, or any published guidance. Definitive adjudication is only available via the courts.

The Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill is a bill to make provision for the resolution of disputes concerning the location or placement of the boundaries and private rights of way relating to the title of an estate in land.

The Bill provides for the mandatory expert determination of such disputes by a surveyor at an early stage, before the commencement of court proceedings. The expert determination is conclusive subject to a right of appeal to the High Court within 28 days of the award.

The Bill aims to reduce the need for recourse to litigation and provide a consistent procedural template for resolving disputes of this nature.

Key points

  • The Bill is in the House of Lords and expected become law in early 2018.
  • Any existing Court would be stayed and referred for determination under the mandatory expert determination process.
  • The boundary determined by Award would constitute a “Determined Boundary” for the purposes of the Land Registration Act 2002. The exact line of the legal boundary of a registered estate showing its precise position would be noted on the title document of the respective ownerships. In so providing, the Bill aims to avoid repeat disputes over the same boundary and provide a public record of boundaries at a high level of accuracy