More a fraud examination question relating to UK property: I own a 3 bedroom semi-detached property in Edgware, North London which is separated by the occupiers next door by a shared alleyway which is owned 50/50 with these people. My wife and I have been receiving numerous letters over the past 12 months commencing 31st May 2011, from two solicitors of the occupiers next door stating that our wheelie bin (measuring no more than 4feet high x 22inches x 22inches in area approximately), is causing these people quote "SUBSTANTIAL INTERFERENCE" as they claim they are not able to get their vehicles into and out of their back garden through this shared alleyway, even sending us letters demanding us to give them an "undertaking" NOT to store anything in the side alleyway and after we refused to give them this, then going further by threatening costs (up to £23,096.00 if Court proceedings are issued!!!!), damages,an injunction and court action if we do not move this wheelie bin from the alleyway even though other residents, including the occupiers of the next door property themselves have put not only their wheelie bins but other materials too in the side alleyway that separates two properties and as such all residents in this borough are all guilty of NOT having "clean hands" and as such court action will be thrown out if it ever gets to court! Putting these facts to one side, the issue I am concerned about, is the solicitors firm, Lyons Davidson who are based in Bristol and who are acting for these occupiers next door, has even included an "incident date" on their letters to us and dating this as '30th June 2011', i.e. I am assuming this is a date they have 'cooked up' on their insurance claim form since our wheelie bin has always been in this shared alleyway since July 2001, i.e. over ten years now and also since the first day we moved into our property, well before even the occupiers themselves moved into the property next door, i.e. some 5 years later in 2006 and as such, this 'incident date must be fraudulent and false to say the very least! Furthermore we even received a "Particulars of Claim" from this solicitor which they have threatened to use against us in court, further adding that they would prefer 'mediation' instead however we had none of this nonsense and told them to go to court instead, copying the Court in too! As such events have moved quickly and possibly beyond the control of this solicitor and now we are due to go to Barnet County Court on the 15th May 2012 over a wheelie bin!!! Bearing in mind however this 'incident date' and furthermore and possibly unsurprisingly, we have discovered that approximately three months prior to receiving these threatening letters, i.e. on the 8th February 2011, the occupier of the next door property set up two general commercial businesses including fleet management from his residential property (something we found out last week after doing on-line checks on his name and address when this information possibly just went live on the internet), we have noted these key facts have been omitted from this 'Particulars of Claim' and the local council in Barnet was not even aware of any business operating from that address, something which we have now made them aware off and which they are now investigating separately! Bearing in mind all these points, particularly the solicitor not disclosing some critical information on their 'Particulars of Claim' they filed with the Court, i.e their "incident date" and the fact that their client has set up a commercial business from his home address with an attempt to use this shared alleyway which we also co-own to run his fleet vehicles over WITHOUT consulting me, the neighbours or the council or possibly even HMRC for the collection of any business rates that may be due), would this likely indicate an intent on the part of the occupier next door and possibly with the collusion and connivance of his solicitor Lyons Davidson of Bristol, to defraud us on our property title by denying us the enjoyment of our land (by giving them an "undertaking" as outlined above) and/or even his insurance company (assuming he may have a business interruption clause included in his policy where he may be claiming ingress-egress is being blocked by a wheelie bin or even exaggerating this claim), sending these threatening letters and mentioning Court action for even further leverage and credibility however then when the action really did end up in Court then deciding to opt for non-disclosure of key material information to the Courts, i.e. an incident date of '30th June 2011' and the fact that he has business interests with the neighbour's half of the side alleyway by putting it to use for fleet management and general commercial use and as such this in itself may be an issue with regards XXXXX XXXXX of Court, perverting the course of justice and so on and as such this may be something that the Court may wish to follow-up on, possibly by issuing civil and/or criminal proceedings against this occupier of the property next door? Sorry if the description was long however any feedback on any, or ideally all, of the points raised above would be much appreciated.
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Have you sent any documents to the County Court?
Yes 50 pages of evidence including photos of cars going in and out of alleyway without any problem, videos, drawings, neighbour witness statements, copies of certificates of incorporation of the limited companies operating out from next door. Can you please focus on the issues I have raised and reply with some information, one way or the other. Thank you
Hello there. Do you need any further information?
Which issues on particular would you like me to concentrate. There is quite a lot of information there.
I might add, the claimants have not provided anything to the Court apart from their claim of "substantial interference".
I have to step away for a while. I will be back online in a couple of hours.
The part at the end... where I mentioned about possibly defrauding us on the enjoyment of the land, possibly defrauding their own insurance company and also taking the legal justice system for a ride. Yes the description was long but I thought it was clear enough to follow?
OK, if I am offline, please feel free to comment.
Dear Support Team,Please refer to the email below... note the very spare information provided i.e. just one question to me "Have you sent any documents to the County Court?" EOB.I think this chap should be given a ticking off for asking for money for not even following up on my query and even further stating originally that he was going off line for 2 hours and that he will come back (he never did even though I waited for more than 2 hours the whole night too!!!!!).Just my thoughts but worth following up.Mr Liaquat XXX.
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HiI am not sure if you would still like a substantive reply to this question- if so please confirm!Claire
I received a reply already from another solicitor saying punitive action is very rare and since I have NOT suffered any losses, any county Court judge will possibly not take the matter much further. Question: are you saying now there is a case for damages and stress, perjury and so on which I am able to persue? If so, please follow-up?
HiThere is certainly nothing in what you have said that makes me believe there is any action that you are entitled to take nor has anything happened that threatens your long term ownership of the land not your right to quiet enjoyment of itYou do however seem to have a good defense to the action that is being taken against you - and possibly a counter claim about it being used for commercial purposesClaire
Dear Claire, thank you for your reply. Yes I just found out that the alleyway may be used for commercial purposes as the claimant has two limited companies with the service address stated as such. The only issue is I did not put down a tick in the counterclaim box as I did not have this information at the time, i.e. it only came to light after I sent the allocation questionnaire back to the Court! Question: can I plead with the judge to seek damages as such from the neighbour now that I know he is using the alleyway for commercial purposes?
HIWhat is the exact wording from the deeds about the use of the passage way?Claire
"Right of way with and without motor cars along the whole length of the passageway" (including our side too). Does that mean "business vans", strangers using my half of the property too, 24/7 all hours of the day and night too?
HIDoes it specify cars or vehicles?Claire
It specifies both... i.e. "with or without motor cars or other vehicles..."
HiThat is a shame - although at the hearing you can point out that it was never envisaged that it would be used for commercial purposes and indeed you could arguable make a case that it should not be Claire
25 years exeperience
Hi Claire, can I follow up quickly on the above query if that is OK and will be covered in the same question... if so, is it an offence for a claimant (a company director) to NOT disclose that fact on his court papers or even the name of his limited company. Seems a business suing ordinary Joe in the street is a bit one sided? Any thoughts?
HiNo it is not an offence I am afraid Claire
His solicitor in a previous letter when I challenged this, stated "for the interest of clarity, we can confirm our client's property is a residential dwelling." So looking at the fact that he is running a commercial business, he is also a company director but didn't disclose that information in the FAMILY COURTS section, is that plain lying and something I can challenge in court?
HiNo it is irrelevant and not something of any concern to the court - he is entitled to sue in his own name in respect of the property that he owns.Claire
Thanks. One final question then, in his witness statement he adamantly stated his car was "trapped" for 6 months in his back garden because of our wheelie bin and he wants "damages". We have a photo showing his car passing by the wheelie bin with about 2 feet of space between the two and plenty of clearance... we took the photo when he wasn't aware around 3.00 AM in the morning when he drove he car in clandestinely into the back. Would that wash with the judge?
HiThat will indeed assist - although frankly I suspect that a Judge is going to view the ides that the car was trapped by a wheelie bin as ludicrous in the extreme - unless of course you have filled them with concrete!Claire
Sorry to finish off, I think there is one law if you have insurance and one law if you don't! The reason I say this is because I spoke to a Simon Price from Lyons Davidson, I likewise explained the same situation about a wheelie bin, rubbish and so on causing an obstruction in my alleyway and making it difficult to get my car in and out of the alleyway. I even directly asked if I could get the litigation costs covered by a Conditional Funding Agreement but Mr Price seemed a little confused and told me the best way forward would be to take it up with my home legal expenses insurance and they would then decide if there was a case or not! He also said he wasn't sure what, if any, merit there would be in pursuing a case like this over a wheelie bin and suggested I should perhaps take the matter up with the Citizens Advice Bureau! I think if Mr Price was approached by my insurer with the appetite for success fees and so on, may be his answer would have been different? Something which I am experiencing with a £40,000 legal bill over a wheelie bin (Google £40,000 Battle of the wheelie bins). There must be something wrong with this country's legal system? Any thoughts most welcome.
HiThere is nothing I can add I am afraid - but yes legal expenses insurance can lead to odd casesClaire
Thanks for your valuable feedback. I will raise these issues with the judge when there is a costs hearing.
Just a quick query again since you mentioned legal expenses insurance can lead to odd cases.... The claimant stated his funding is under a CCFA (Collective Conditional Fee Agreement). Question: Is that the type of funding given to say trade union members, i.e. 'Collective' or block CFA funding? If so wouldn't that be more for personal injury, disease, clinical negligence and so on? How would he have qualified for a wheelie bin? Do you think he 'faked' something on the claim form, e.g. his fell over the wheelie bin and hurt his back? If this is the case, would he be in serious trouble when this goes to a costs hearing and my barrister demands to examine his CCFA agreement in minute detail?
HiNo I do not think he faked anything at all - he has Legal Insurance - he used it - that's what it is there forClaire
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