Company wins right to light dispute with high handed neighbour
A company has been granted an injunction preventing a neighbouring firm going ahead with a development that infringed its right to light.
The neighbour’s high handed attitude during the dispute was a major factor in the judge’s decision.
The case involved two companies with adjoining premises. The claimant company objected as soon as it became aware that its neighbour was constructing a store room and staircase.
The neighbour had not served notice as it should have done in accordance with the law. It gave undertakings that the work would not cause any problems but was also arrogant and unhelpful when objections were raised.
The claimant began proceedings to prevent the development going ahead.
The judge held that the staircase infringed the claimant's right to light, and that the defendant neighbour had acted in breach of undertakings and without notice or planning permission.
The judge accepted that the infringement was minor, no significant damage had occurred and that the damage could be measured in money, but found that the breach of binding undertakings was an overwhelming reason to grant an injunction.
He held that the director of the defendant company had acted badly throughout, in a high-handed manner, by keeping his neighbours in ignorance of his plans, and with the knowledge that his plans might infringe a right to light. He also found the director was not a truthful witness.
He ordered the removal or alteration of the staircase and awarded costs to the claimant.
The Court of Appeal has upheld that decision. It noted that where a defendant had acted in a high-handed manner, attempting to evade the court's jurisdiction, injunctions were necessary in order to do justice to the claimant and to serve as a warning to others.
Please contact Janice Young if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of litigation and protecting your property rights.