Those who are in the midst of a boundary dispute will want to do their best to avoid the courtroom. The average cost of a boundary dispute is £40,000, and court cases of this nature can often take over 2-years to complete.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) helps to cut the cost of resolving boundary disputes. They provide a three-step alternative dispute resolution option. They will take people through these three stages, with expert witnesses provided to ensure that the resolution is the fairest outcome.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
Just because there are three stages to the alternative dispute resolution, it does not necessarily mean that you must go through all three stages. More often than not, parties will agree to a resolution within the first two stages. If after the third stage, an agreement can’t be reached, the RICS will consult an expert witness who will write a report that can be used in the courtroom.
The outcome of the dispute service is to ensure that property disputes are solved quickly. RICS will work hard to ensure that the case is kept away from the courtroom. They can assist with all boundary disputes. This includes claims over the ownership of land or drawing new boundaries. To undergo this dispute service, both parties need to be willing.
During the first stage, a chartered surveyor will be brought in. They will be independent, and thus will not have any bias towards either side. RICS will put a lot of effort into choosing the correct chartered surveyor. They want to ensure that there is no conflict of interest at any stage.
Once recruited, the chartered surveyor will begin to prepare a report outlining their opinion of the case. Both parties will have the opportunity to submit their own evidence here. The chartered surveyor may also visit the property to carry out their own inspection. After reading the professional opinion of the surveyor, most parties will agree to end the process at this stage.
Negotiation and compromise
The second stage functions in much the same way as meditation, although there are a few differences. It is a bit more ‘relaxed’. The surveyor will set up a meeting between the parties, but before this, the parties will be able to submit written statements. The purpose of this stage is to see the position of each of the parties.
The surveyor may look for potential solutions to solve the dispute. Nothing here will be legally binding although, once again, most people will not progress past this stage as they will come to an amicable agreement. If they can’t, then court action will need to be considered.
Preparation of expert witness report
If no solution can be found to the dispute, the case may head to the court. The purpose of the expert witness report is to speed up the court process. A chartered surveyor will produce it, and thus will be very important evidence in court cases. This report being produced will save parties money in the courtroom.
If the case goes to court, this is known as litigation. The judge will look at the expert witness report and will provide a legally binding solution.
The purpose is not to punish either party here, and thus you should not head to court if your sole reason is to punish the other party. Any decision here is final. The parties must abide by it.