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A boundary dispute often includes two parties fighting over a small strip of land, where neither party changes its standpoint and legal costs quickly increase due to their unwillingness to use ADR. When establishing a boundary, complex questions arise such as:

  • Is the boundary marked by a physical feature?
  • Is the boundary defined in legal documents?
  • Is the physical boundary followed exactly the same as the legal boundary?
  • Is there an agreement between the owners, a statute or legal presumption that defines the boundary?

These disputes can be notoriously complex and the final outcome can be uncertain. But there must be some other way to resolve this efficiently.

Now, there is.

A new Boundary Disputes Protocol has been created by the Property Litigation Association. The Protocol applies to both commercial and residential property within England and Wales and assumes that informal discussions have failed, and a more structured resolution is required. It is a FREE resource online for parties alongside relevant guidance.

What does the Protocol do?

There are a number of time limits and processes that the Protocol implements for parties in order to exchange information and resolve the dispute efficiently and consensually. Failure to comply with the Protocol could result in costs being awarded at court against the non-complying party.

What does the Protocol say?

1. When a dispute arises, neither party should interfere with the boundary or the disputed land, until the dispute is resolved.

2. Neither party should do anything which may impair the relationship between the parties or increase costs unnecessarily.

3. Both parties should agree to use the Boundary Dispute Protocol.

4. The First Conveyance should be interpreted to determine the location of the boundary. The words used, and the physical features referred to on the First Conveyance can assist the dispute. In some circumstances, subsequent conduct and services could be relevant.

5. Each party must consider the evidence that they can use. They must exchange documentary evidence they have, identify proposed witnesses and what they will say.

6. When appropriate, a joint expert should be instructed. If separate experts are justified, the experts need to write reports, meet up, identify the issues in dispute and set a strict timetable.

7. There should be an on-site meeting with the parties in dispute and any surveyors that have been instructed. An agreement on what the issues are needs to be made.

8. Any agreement reached must be set out in a written document and state clearly what has been agreed or what is required. It may refer to physical features on the ground. This will prevent future disputes. For certainty, it is wise to ask a lawyer to draw up this agreement.

9. Each party should apply to the Land Registry to note the agreement against their titles.

Following this Protocol will help you solve a dispute earlier, avoid unnecessary costs and can preserve a relationship between neighbours. We therefore suggest that you seriously consider the Protocol before pursuing litigation.

The easy to read Protocol can be found here

2018 08 22
Phil Copley
Any individual living in the current technological age may have had some doubts about the protection of their personal data. When personal data is given over for social media accounts, automatic online sign-ins, employment contracts, legal claims, health records and other reasons so freely, it is understandable why these doubts arise.

The doubts are only provoked by seeing advertisements that relate so closely to search history patterns and the receiving of emails from businesses without giving explicit consent to them. Businesses process and control personal data on a daily basis for these reasons and only now have individuals been given further rights to protect them against this.
The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) has recognised the need for protection of personal data. It will apply from 25 May 2018 and makes sure that personal data flowing in, or from, the EU is protected under one harmonized law.
For any business processing data, or controlling data with businesses that process data, compliance is essential. There are new requirements under the GDPR that need to be followed. These include, but are not limited to:
  1. Ensuring that consent has been genuinely obtained for the processing. If consent is obtained from a child, parental consent must also be obtained. This must be freely given, obvious to the individual that it is the giving of consent, clearly separate from other information, a positive action and be in plain language. This means that the ticking of a box would be acceptable, but the unticking of a box would not be.
  1. Making sure that the whole business is educated and trained about the GDPR, carrying out impact assessments and documenting all processing activities that are carried out. Records of training and impact assessments must be kept as a Supervising Authority may ask a business to show proof of GDPR compliance.
  1. Allowing individuals extra rights after the processing. This includes:
    • A way to withdraw consent as easily as giving it;
    • A way to access personal data that a business has, in a readable format; and
    • A way to request that their data is completely deleted.
Information about how an individual may initiate these rights must be provided by a business such as within a privacy notice or at the time of giving consent.
And what if a business doesn’t comply? They can be fined over 20 million euros! For any business, this is huge sanction. Non-compliance is not an option when faced with this potential penalty.
2018 00 22
Matthew Dowell
A recent poll commissioned to mark Cohabitation Awareness week revealed that out of 2,000 adults, 37% wrongly believed that unmarried couples can obtain a ‘common law marriage’ and 27% wrongly believed that if they separated they would have the same rights as a married couple. Whilst it might be seen as unromantic, this blog helps to clarify 4 myths about cohabitation so you can understand your rights as a cohabiting couple better and get back to enjoying your day!

Myth 1: Because you have lived together for so long, you are treated as husband and wife


A common law marriage does not exist in any form. Regardless of the duration of the relationship, the laws applied to cohabiting couples are completely different to those applied to married couples.

Myth 2: If we split up, the main carer of children will get the cohabited home


This should not be assumed. Although a court considers the needs of the children, the main carer may not be able to keep the shared home. Once a child reaches the age of 18 years old, their needs are no longer prioritised and the house will usually be sold in order for the other parent to retain their rights in the house.

Myth 3: Cohabitation agreements are of no assistance


A cohabitation agreement allows both parties’ promises to be recorded in a written agreement. This helps you to know the rights that you and your partner have, and allows the court to know what the parties intended.

Myth 4: The court will consider a fair outcome


Because you are not married, the question is: “who legally owns the assets in dispute?”. The argument of fairness is not of any huge influence. Factors that do come into consideration are whether there was a common intention to share the property and there had been an express conversation stating this, or, whether the property is held jointly in proportion to the amount paid.
Whilst we sincerely hope that you never need to get into this kind of situation (and not on today of all days!), if you do want a free, confidential discussion regarding a co-habitation dispute, take a look at our Cohabitation Dispute page on our website, or get in touch with Matthew Dowell.
2018 30 14
Matthew Dowell