An elderly UK couple locked in a long-running neighbour dispute over a hedge have been ordered to pay more than £22,000 in damages to their next-door neighbour.
Robert and Jennifer Oldfield found themselves facing a legal battle after they trimmed a six-metre high hedge bordering their property, which they believed to be theirs. However, their soon-to-be neighbour, Clare Pollock, strongly disagreed.
Ms Pollock purchased her Dorset home in 2014 but didn’t actually move in until much later. When she arrived at the property, she was distraught to see that the hedge along her western boundary had been severely cut back – so she decided to launch legal action against Mr and Mrs Oldfield.
The disgruntled neighbour sought an injunction against the pensioner couple, claiming that they had trimmed her blackthorn and hazel hedge without permission.
Appearing in Central London County Court last year, the 67-year-old Mr Oldfield admitted that he was responsible for cutting back the hedge, but insisted that it was on his side of the boundary.
Both parties continued to argue over who owned the hedge and expert witnesses were bought in to analyse historic maps and legal documents dating back to Victorian times.
Presiding over the case, Judge Parfitt ruled in favour of Mr and Mrs Oldfield – but it was not long before a disgruntled Ms Pollock appealed the decision, taking her case to the High Court.
Late last week, High Court Judge Mr Justice Arnold re-examined the case and found that it was “more probable” that the boundary line of the property fell in such a place that the hedge would have belonged to Ms Pollock.
Allowing Ms Pollock’s appeal, he ruled that Mr and Mrs Oldfield must pay their disgruntled neighbour a sum of £22,500 in damages.
He added that in the coming days, he would hear further arguments with regards to who should pay solicitors fees accumulated over the course of the dispute.