UKTC Archive

RE: displacement of a retaining boundary wall - liability

Subject: RE: displacement of a retaining boundary wall - liability
From: Philip Wilson
Date: Jul 11 2019 08:48:22
A pretty kettle of fish, just as I thought. In case you're wondering my 
client is the lower landowner, who also owns the wall. There's no 
displacement so far as is known, but clearly the client should conserve the 
wall in good condition and be seen to be doing so (which relates to 
vegetation management).
With thanks, Philip


-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info 
[mailto:uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info] On Behalf Of Jerry Ross
Sent: 11 July 2019 09:35
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: Re: displacement of a retaining boundary wall - liability


On 11/07/2019 08:53, Alastair Durkin wrote:
I would leave that for those qualified to do so to work out and the come in 
to address the tree issues! 😉

You're probably right Alastair, but you're a TO with a legal team at 
your back. As a jobbing consultant one tries to help one's client as 
best one can (assuming they deserve help!)  So if one can advise (with 
suitable caveats about the limits of one's qualifications) that it's not 
worth spending money on a lawyer as they are likely to lose the case 
anyway, that seems fair enough.
And in this case, it's my (admittedly unqualified opinion) that the 
lower landowner is on a hiding to nothing: my understanding is that 
whoever it is that has legal ownership of the wall has the duty of care 
to maintain it in such a condition that the higher land is prevented 
from collapsing onto the lower. So if ownership is clearly with the 
lower landowner, it is they that have the duty to maintain it in a 
functioning condition.
That function is to withstand the forces imposed by the retained land. 
The difference would come if an additional factor (such as a tree, or 
perhaps water from a leaking pipe or a pond) is introduced from above 
that increases those forces...

If your client is the lower landowner, that's the advice I'd give. If 
it's the upper I'd be more cautious, as getting it wrong could have 
expensive consequences (if, for instance, the case is deadlocked, the 
wall collapses and it then turns out that actually the upper owner WAS 
responsible after all...).
But in either case  (especially the latter) I'd give supplementary 
advice to check with a lawyer!.



-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info 
<uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> On Behalf Of Philip Wilson
Sent: 11 July 2019 06:22
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
Subject: displacement of a retaining boundary wall - liability

Whatever the ownership of a retaining boundary wall, am I right in thinking 
that the landowner on the upper side must remedy any trespass caused by an 
outward displacement of the wall?

  

But what if the wall is owned by the lower landowner, who has allowed the 
wall to fall into disrepair, without any foreseeable predisposing factor 
(such as a boundary tree on the upper land) increasing the lateral thrust 
on the wall?

  

Philip

  




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The UKTC is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy
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