Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Bill (HL Bill 19)

A

BILL

TO

Make provision for the resolution of disputes concerning the location or
placement of the boundaries and private rights of way relating to the title of
an estate in land; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Application of this Act to existing proceedings

This section shall have effect where lands of different owners adjoin and a
dispute has arisen between the owners as to the location of the exact line of the
boundary between the lands or the location and extent of a private right of
5way; and—

(a) a claim has been issued in any court of competent jurisdiction alleging
that an owner of land has trespassed upon land belonging to a land
owner or obstructed a private right of way, irrespective of the remedy
sought, and a defence has been filed which puts into issue the precise
10location of the boundary or right of way; or

(b) a claim has been issued in any court of competent jurisdiction claiming
a declaration as to the exact location of a boundary or private right of
way between the lands of adjoining owners; or

(c) an application has been made to the Registrar of Her Majesty’s Land
15Registry under paragraphs 117 to 122 of the Land Registration Rules
2003 for the determination of the exact line of a boundary and any
owner of land adjoining the boundary has given notice of objection in
accordance with paragraph 119(6) of the Land Registration Rules 2003.

2 Stay of pending proceedings and referral of disputes for determination under
20this Act

All claims and proceedings to which section 1 applies shall be stayed
automatically and shall be determined in accordance with section 5.

Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) BillPage 2

3 Procedure where a boundary dispute has arisen but no court proceedings
have been commenced between adjoining owners of land

(1) Where an owner of land (“the owner of land”) wishes to establish the position
of a boundary or the location and extent of a private right of way he must
5follow the procedure set out in this section.

(2) The owner of land must serve notice on the adjoining owner or user of the
private right of way (“the adjoining owner”) accompanied by a plan
identifying the exact line of the boundary or extent of the private right of way
claimed and showing sufficient physical features to allow the boundary or
10right of way to be identified.

(3) Nothing contained in this section prevents an owner upon whom a notice has
been served from consenting.

(4) Where the adjoining owner—

(a) responds to the notice under subsection (2) that he objects to the
15claimed boundary line or extent of the private right of way, or

(b) gives no response to the notice within the period of 14 days,

a dispute shall be deemed to have arisen between the parties and the dispute
shall be determined in accordance with section 5.

4 Penalty for failure to comply with section 3

20Where after the commencement of this Act an owner of land issues
proceedings in any court without having first complied with section 3 then he
shall not be entitled to recover any costs incurred in the issue and service of
such proceedings against the adjoining land owner.

5 Resolution of disputes

(1) 25Where a dispute arises or is deemed to have arisen between an owner of land
and an adjoining owner in respect of any matter connected with the location of
the boundary between the adjoining properties or the location and extent of a
private right of way then either—

(a) both parties shall concur in the appointment of one surveyor (an
30“agreed surveyor”); or

(b) each party shall appoint a surveyor and the two surveyors so appointed
shall forthwith select a third surveyor (all of whom are in this section
referred to as “the three surveyors”).

(2) All appointments and selections made under this section shall be in writing
35and shall not be rescinded by either party.

(3) If an agreed surveyor—

(a) refuses to act;

(b) neglects to act for a period of ten days beginning with the day on which
either party serves a request on him;

(c) 40dies before the dispute is settled; or

(d) becomes or deems himself incapable of acting,

the proceedings for settling such dispute shall begin de novo.

(4) If either party to the dispute—

(a) refuses to appoint a surveyor under subsection (1)(b) or (5); or

Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) BillPage 3

(b) neglects to appoint a surveyor under subsection (1)(b) or (5) for a
period of 10 days beginning with the day on which the other party
serves a request on him,

the other party shall make the appointment of another surveyor on his behalf.

(5) 5If, before the dispute is settled, a surveyor appointed under subsection (1)(b)
by a party to the dispute dies, or becomes or deems himself incapable of acting,
the party who appointed him may appoint another surveyor in his place with
the same power and authority.

(6) If a surveyor—

(a) 10appointed under subsection (1)(b) by a party to the dispute; or

(b) appointed under subsection (4) or (5),

refuses to act effectively, the surveyor of the other party may proceed to act ex
parte and anything so done by him shall be as effectual as if he had been an
agreed surveyor.

(7) 15If a surveyor—

(a) appointed under subsection (1)(b) by a party to the dispute; or

(b) appointed under subsection (4) or (5),

neglects to act effectively for a period of 10 days beginning with the day on
which either party or the surveyor of the other party serves a request on him,
20the surveyor of the other party may proceed to act ex parte in respect of the
subject matter of the request and anything so done by him shall be as effectual
as if he had been an agreed surveyor.

(8) If either surveyor appointed under subsection (1)(b) by a party to the dispute
refuses to select a third surveyor under subsection (1) or (9), or neglects to do
25so for a period of ten days beginning with the day on which the other surveyor
serves a request on him—

(a) an appointing officer of the local authority; or

(b) in cases where the relevant appointing officer or his employer is a party
to the dispute, the Secretary of State or, where the land that is the
30subject of the dispute is located wholly in Wales, a Welsh Minister,

shall on the application of either surveyor select a third surveyor who shall
have the same power and authority as if he had been selected under subsection
(1) or (9).

(9) If a third surveyor selected under subsection (1)(b)

(a) 35refuses to act;

(b) neglects to act for a period of 10 days beginning with the day on which
either party or the surveyor appointed by either party serves a request
on him; or

(c) dies, or becomes or deems himself incapable of acting, before the
40dispute is settled,

the two appointed surveyors shall forthwith select another surveyor in his
place with the same power and authority.

(10) The agreed surveyor or as the case may be the three surveyors or any two of
them shall settle by award—

(a) 45the precise location of the boundary or location and extent of the
private right of way which shall be shown on a dimensioned plan in a
form acceptable to the Land Registry;

Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) BillPage 4

(b) the extent to which any building, structure or other erection
constructed on the land of one owner extends beyond the boundary
onto, over or under the land of the other;

(c) the costs of making the award.

(11) 5Either of the parties or either of the surveyors appointed by the parties may call
upon the third surveyor selected in pursuance of this section to determine the
disputed matters and he shall make the necessary award.

(12) The reasonable costs incurred in—

(a) making or obtaining an award under this section;

(b) 10reasonable inspections of land, buildings or work to which the award
relates; and

(c) any other matter arising out of the dispute,

shall be paid by such of the parties and to whom as the surveyor or surveyors
making the award determine.

(13) 15Where the surveyors appointed by the parties make an award the surveyors
shall serve it forthwith on the parties.

(14) Where an award is made by the third surveyor—

(a) he shall, after payment of the costs of the award, serve it forthwith on
the parties or their appointed surveyors; and

(b) 20 if it is served on their appointed surveyors, they shall serve it forthwith
on the parties.

(15) The award shall be conclusive and shall not except as provided by this section
be questioned in any court.

(16) Either of the parties to the dispute may, within the period of 28 days beginning
25with the day on which an award made under this section is served on him,
appeal to the High Court against the award and the court may—

(a) rescind the award or modify it in such a manner as the court thinks fit;
and

(b) make such order as to costs as the court thinks fit.

(17) 30Within 28 days of expiry of the appeal period referred to in subsection (16) the
owner of land shall submit the award to the Land Registry.

6 Regulation of surveyors

(1) There shall be no right of appeal to the County Court on any award made
under section 5.

(2) 35The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument
appoint one or more professional bodies or institutions to carry out the
functions under this section and specify the manner of discharging such
functions.

(3) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section may not be
40made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a
resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(4) Surveyors appointed under section 5 must be regulated by one of the following
professional bodies—

(a) the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors;

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(b) the Institution of Structural Engineers; or

(c) the Royal Institute of British Architects.

(5) Regulations made by the Secretary of State may include provisions as to the
following—

(a) 5the manner of dealing with any malpractice or malfeasance by any
surveyor carrying out their duties pursuant to this Act, including
investigation and resolution by the institution to which the surveyor
belongs, in accordance with the institution’s code of practice and
review procedure;

(b) 10the manner and timing of a reference to the High Court, where an
institution makes a finding of malpractice; and

(c) such other matters as the Secretary of State considers to be necessary for
the implementation of provisions under this section.

(6) The Secretary of State may from time to time add or remove institutions from
15the list of professional bodies appointed under this section.

(7) The Secretary of State may from time to time investigate and audit the internal
review mechanisms of appointed institutions to ensure the review
mechanisms are of an appropriate standard.

(8) The Secretary of State may require an institution to amend its internal
20mechanism of review where there is an agreed industry standard of best
practice which the institution has not adopted.

7 Service of notices, etc

(1) A notice or other document required or authorised to be served under this Act
is to be served in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules as amended from
25time to time and in accordance with the Code.

(2) Where a notice or other document is required or authorised to be served under
this Act on a person as owner of land, it may also be served by—

(a) addressing it “the owner” of the premises and giving the owner’s name
if known; and

(b) 30delivering it to a person on the premises or, if no person to whom it can
be delivered is found there, fixing it to a conspicuous part of the
premises.

8 Right of entry

(1) A surveyor appointed or selected under section 5 or his authorised agent may
35during usual working hours enter and remain on any land or premises for the
purpose of carrying out the objective for which he is appointed or selected.

(2) If the land or premises are closed, the surveyor, his agents and workmen may,
if accompanied by a constable or other police officer, break open any fences,
gates or doors in order to enter the land or premises.

(3) 40No land or premises may be entered by any person under subsection (2) unless
the owner of land who is a party to the dispute concerned, or his appointed
surveyor if so authorised, serves on the adjoining owner of the adjoining land
or premises—

(a) in case of emergency, such notice of the intention to enter as may be
45reasonable and practicable;


Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) BillPage 6


(b) in any other case, such notice of the intention to enter as complies with
subsection (4).

(4) Notice complies with this subsection if it is served in a period of at least 14 days
ending with the day of the proposed entry.

9 5Code of Practice for the resolution of property boundary disputes

(1) The Secretary of State shall by regulations approve a Code of Practice (“the
Code”), which specifies best practice in the preparation of plans and other
documents specified in this Act and the form and manner in which notice must
be served under section 3(2).

(2) 10The Secretary of State may from time to time amend the Code.

(3) Regulations under this section are to be made by statutory instrument subject
to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(4) Parties to any disputes to which this Act applies must comply with the
provisions of the Code.

10 15Offences

(1) If—

(a) an owner, occupier or their agent of land or premises or any other
person refuses to permit a surveyor, his agent or workmen to do
anything which he is entitled to do with regard to the land or premises
20under section 7; and

(b) the owner knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the person is
so entitled,

the owner is guilty of an offence.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary
25conviction to a fine of an amount not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

11 Recovery of sums

Any sum payable in pursuance of this Act otherwise than by way of a fine shall
be recoverable summarily as a civil debt.

12 Exception in case of Inns of Court

30This Act shall not apply to land which is situated in inner London and in which
there is an interest belonging to —

(a) the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple,

(b) the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple,

(c) the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, or

(d) 35the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn.

13 The Crown

(1) This Act shall apply to land in which there is—

(a) an interest belonging to Her Majesty in right of the Crown,

(b) an interest belonging to a government department; or

Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) BillPage 7

(c) an interest held in trust for Her Majesty for the purposes of any such
department.

(2) This Act shall apply to—

(a) land which is vested in, but not occupied by, Her Majesty in right of the
5Duchy of Lancaster;

(b) land which is vested in, but not occupied by, the possessor for the time
being of the Duchy of Cornwall.

14 Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions
10have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them—

  • “adjoining owner” means a freehold owner of land, whose land forms a
    boundary with the land of an owner of land who is desirous of
    establishing a boundary or a private right of way;

  • “boundary” means an invisible plane which can extend above and below
    15ground, defining the exact extent of the owner of land’s property;

  • “court” means a process of adjudication whereby a judge or adjudicator
    sits and hears or reads submissions from the parties or their
    representatives and considers evidence from witnesses before making
    a decision;

  • 20“notice” means a written document stating—

    (a)

    the name, registered address and correspondence address of
    the owner of land;

    (b)

    it shall be addressed to the registered owner of the adjoining
    land or premises and to any building on the adjoining land or
    25premises;

    (c)

    it shall be signed by the owner of land (or by the individual
    suitably authorised to do so on his behalf) and dated;

    (d)

    the name and address of the surveyor that the owner of land
    will appoint in accordance with section 5 should a dispute arise;

  • 30“occupier” means a person, persons, business or organisation that either
    owns, resides within or works from the property with the permission
    of the owner;

  • “owner of land” means a freehold owner of land who is desirous of
    establishing the position of a boundary between his land and the land
    35of an adjoining owner or a private right of way;

  • “private right of way” means an easement or right of access or egress
    benefitting a third party;

  • “service” means that service of documents shall be deemed to be served
    in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules as amended from time to
    40time;

  • “surveyor” means any person not being a party to the matter appointed
    or selected under section 5 to determine disputes in accordance with
    the procedures set out in this Act, who—

    (a)

    is a member or fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered
    45Surveyors,

    (b)

    is a member of the Institution of Chartered Structural
    Engineers,

    (c)

    is a member of the Royal Institution of British Architects, or

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    (d)

    has another suitable qualification specified by regulations made
    by statutory instrument which is subject to annulment in
    pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

15 Other statutory provisions

(1) 5The Secretary of State may by regulations amend or repeal any provision of a
private or local Act passed before or in the same sessions as this Act, if it
appears to him necessary or expedient to do so in consequence of this Act.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) may—

(a) contain such savings or transitional provisions as the Secretary of State
10thinks fit;

(b) make different provision for different purposes.

(3) The power to make regulations under subsection (1) shall be exercisable by
statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of
either House of Parliament.

16 15Extent, commencement and short title

(1) This Act extends to England and Wales only.

(2) Sections 1 to 15 come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by
regulations appoint.

(3) Regulations under subsection (2) may—

(a) 20contain such savings or transitional provisions as the Secretary of State
thinks fit;

(b) make different provision for different purposes.

(4) This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.

(5) This Act may be cited as the Property Boundaries (Resolution of Disputes) Act
252016.