UKTC Archive

RE: displacement of a retaining boundary wall - liability

Subject: RE: displacement of a retaining boundary wall - liability
From: Alastair Durkin
Date: Jul 11 2019 11:54:25
I take your point re trying to be helpful Jerry, but even though we do pick 
up knowledge from other areas as we go along, and it's tempting to offer this 
as advice, it's vital to stay within your own qualified area of expertise and 
know when to advise clients to seek advice from others. 


-----Original Message-----
From: uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info <uktc-request@xxxxxx.tree-care.info> 
On Behalf Of Jerry Ross
Sent: 11 July 2019 09:35
To: UK Tree Care <uktc@xxxxxx.tree-care.info>
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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