Is Your Water Supply Sourced from a Neighbour's Land? Do You Know Your Rights?

5th February 2021 By

Many rural homes obtain their supplies of fresh water from sources which lie beyond their boundaries and such arrangements can sadly prove fertile ground for dispute. A case in which a farmer and his niece were at odds over water rights showed the wisdom of seeking early legal advice so that such disagreements can be nipped in the bud.

The niece lived with her partner and young son in a converted agricultural building which had been bequeathed to her by her grandfather in his will. The property was served by a water pipe connected to a borehole on neighbouring land which was owned by her uncle.

A dispute developed after a tap was turned off, disconnecting the property from its water supply. The pipe was subsequently severed by the uncle’s workmen and not repaired. The niece and her family were as a result dependent on tanked and bottled water for about a year.

After the niece took action against her uncle, a judge found that the property was already connected to the borehole when it was conveyed into her grandfather’s sole name. He and any future owner of the property therefore had a right – or easement – to continue to draw water from the borehole. Turning off the tap and refusing to reconnect the water supply amounted both to a substantial interference with that right and a nuisance.

Given that probate in respect of her grandfather’s estate had yet to be granted, the niece did not own the property and her occupation of it was tenuous. The judge, however, noted that she had a reasonable expectation that she would become its legal owner in due course. Her occupation, which had been tacitly accepted by the executor of her grandfather’s will, was in any event sufficient to found her nuisance claim.

The judge made a formal declaration that the property is entitled to a water supply from the borehole and granted the niece an injunction to ensure that supply. Her uncle was also ordered to pay her £5,500 in damages to reflect the inconvenience she suffered whilst the property was deprived of piped water.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Creating a Family Trust? Are You Sure It Reflects Your True Intentions?

20th April, 2021 By

Rather than giving money to your children directly, you may choose for a variety of good reasons to provide for them by way of a discretionary trust. Such a step is a serious matter, however, and as a High Court case underlined, it is extremely difficult to alter a trust deed after it has been formally executed. The case concerned a father who wished to make provision for his three children from an inheritance of about £450,000 that he had received from his mother. He signed a deed that varied...

Sensible Divorcees Put Personal Animosity Aside – Court of Appeal Ruling

15th April, 2021 By

Any good lawyer will tell you that it is far better for divorcing couples to agree how their assets should be divided, rather than fighting it out in court. A Court of Appeal case showed, however, that, where personal animosity persists, it is only too easy for the terms of such agreements to themselves become the subject of dispute. The case concerned a very wealthy couple who, following highly acrimonious divorce proceedings, resolved to settle their differences. They signed a consent order which it was hoped would lead to a...

COVID-19 – High Court Authorises Vaccination of Elderly Dementia Sufferer

12th April, 2021 By

Should vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make important decisions for themselves be vaccinated against COVID-19 even in the face of objections from their loved ones? The High Court confronted that uniquely difficult issue in the case of an 80-year-old care home resident who was suffering from dementia. The woman's son did not object to vaccination in principle but was deeply sceptical about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and the speed at which they had been authorised for use. In opposing her vaccination, he argued that her wishes...

In Dispute with Your Neighbour? A Lawyer Will Help to Restore Peace

9th April, 2021 By

Disputes between neighbours frequently inflict enormous emotional and financial harm on all involved. A High Court dispute concerning use of a shared driveway showed why any lawyer would advise sensible negotiation as a far better alternative to litigation. A couple's right of way over the driveway, by which they accessed their rural home, was restricted to passage on foot or by private motor vehicles. Their neighbour, with whom they shared the driveway, launched proceedings against them alleging that they were in long-standing breach of that restriction by permitting its use...