Pick your battles….

By February 25, 2016January 29th, 2021Litigation

Mrs Smith, went to court hoping magistrates would order her neighbour to turn off his water filtration system – but lost.

Her case was thrown out after a three-hour trial when the court said her claim was ‘unnecessary’. Mrs Smith represented herself in court and called her husband Simon as her only witness.

Mrs Smith went to court hoping to get an order that would prevent Mr Ebrahimi, 67, from having the pond filtration system turned on all day. Nick Ham, defending Mr Ebrahimi, said: ‘The pipe was installed to deal with algae as the pond was becoming odorous, which in itself can also be a statutory nuisance.

As well as her own hefty fees to take the case to court, Mrs Smith was also ordered to pay her neighbour’s legal costs.

In a recent case a couple took their neighbour to court over a noisy water feature. The couple asserted the water feature consituted a nuisance in law.  The Court found there to be no nuisnace and the couple were ordered to pay over £4,000 in costs.  This case is a stark reminder that cases with a lack of merit are not well received by the court.  Claims in nuisance have to comply with statutory guidelines, in cases where litigants represent themsleves such as this one, it is often the case that upon attending trial they attend without the necessary knowledge of the law.  Whilst people can be put off by legal fees, an advice from a solicitor would have been significantly cheaper than the costs that were ordered to be paid.  A solicitor can offer advice on the merits of a case at an early stage which would enable a party to then proceed independently if they so choose.  The court are increasingly seeking to make the court process easier for litigants in person to deal with their own cases, and this isnt always a bad thing.  The issue comes when a litigant in person deals with a claim without an understanding of the legal principles underpinning their case.  Whilst proceedures can be adopted to assist in streamlining issuing and the court process, the court does not offer legal advice.  If you do intend to pursue legal action without legal representation or advice then the advice has to be; prepare well, read around the subject area, and pick your battles.

Alison Rocca

Author Alison Rocca

Alison is a solicitor in our Litigation department.

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