Avoiding unnecessary Court costs in a neighbour nuisance dispute

Paul acted for the Defendants in an action brought by their neighbours for summary proceedings in respect of a statutory nuisance under section 82 Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The neighbours alleged that smoke from the Defendants’ wood-burning stove was filling their house every time the stove was lit. The neighbours had something of a reputation locally for complaining (and going to court) about the activities of various local residents.

Although it was evident that the chimney flue which had been fitted to the wood-burning stove did not comply with the relevant Regulations, Paul’s clients had stopped using the stove some time before the dates alleged by their neighbours. Photographic evidence confirmed that the stove had been unlit at the times referred to by the neighbours and had, in fact, been decommissioned.

The neighbours nevertheless persisted with the claim and the matter was due to be listed for a trial lasting several days. Paul worked with his clients to enable a settlement to be reached, avoiding the inevitable costs of pursuing the case (regardless of the result). As a result, the neighbours withdrew the proceedings and were persuaded to pay for certain works to the Defendant’s property.