A new service aiming to help neighbours resolve boundary disputes without resorting to court action has been set up by the Property Litigation Association (PLA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The Boundary Disputes Mediation Service comprises a mixed panel of mediators, lawyers and surveyors, all experienced in boundary and neighbour disputes.

Announcing the service, the PLA said that the number of disputes between neighbours over issues such as fences and party walls has increased during the pandemic as people have been confined to their homes. 

Using the new service, parties can retain control of the negotiation process and deal with issues in a positive, proactive way, while a neutral mediator aims to reach an outcome that is satisfactory to all.

The service charges £240.00 to administer the nomination of a mediator who will charge a fixed fee to a maximum of £4,200 per mediation.

The new service, supported by the Civil Justice Council (CJC), has been created in response to the government and judiciary exploring ways of resolving boundary disputes without recourse to litigation. 

Jacqui Joyce, a mediator who sits on the PLA’s law reform committee, said: ’People at the heart of neighbour disputes can rapidly get themselves into a fight, but few know how to then get out of it. Mediation gives people an opportunity to exit the fight without the courts being involved, avoiding the stress, risk and huge expense that this may entail.’

John Fletcher, director of dispute resolution services at RICS, said: ’The government and judiciary are keen to encourage disputing neighbours to avoid litigation, which often results in immense financial and personal cost for all sides. This new service offers neighbours an opportunity to get their views across and achieve an agreed outcome quickly and more cheaply.’