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Property Boundary Disputes

Volume 590: debated on Thursday 15 January 2015

My noble friend the Minister of State for Civil Justice and Legal Policy (Lord Faulks QC) has made the following written ministerial statement.

The Government are today publishing an initial scoping study on property boundary disputes. This fulfils a commitment given by the Ministry of Justice in response to a written parliamentary question from Charlie Elphicke MP on 14 February 2013 (Commons Hansard, 14 February 2013, Column 874W).

The scoping study was undertaken because of concern that such disputes are all too often disproportionately bitter, protracted and expensive. The study took the form of interviews with a small number of key stakeholders and the distribution of a questionnaire to 30 organisations with an interest in land law issues including boundary disputes. Input was also received during the period of the study from a number of individuals involved in boundary disputes.

The study reflects the views expressed in the responses received on the nature, frequency and causes of boundary disputes, the effectiveness of current resolution methods, and the problems that currently arise and what could be done to address them. It discusses a number of options for legal or procedural change, and concludes that the Ministry of Justice should carry out further work to assess the feasibility of improvements in a number of areas, including in particular the use of mediation and expert determination, the spreading of best practice and the provision of better information with a view to reaching more definite conclusions in 2015, but that more radical reform is not currently justified.

Copies of the scoping study are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

It is also available online at: