August 6, 2014

Property problems – an injunction may resolve your dispute

What is an injunction?

An injunction is a type of a court order which requires somebody to do or refrain from doing a specific act.

In situations such as those described above you will want the interference to stop and where negotiations have failed an injunction requiring the person at fault to stop the interference would be the appropriate remedy.

How easy is it to obtain an injunction?

Your chances of getting an injunction will always depend on the circumstances.

Until recently where a claim was brought for a breach of property rights, such as loss of light caused by a neighbouring development, the likely remedy has been an injunction. It was only in exceptional circumstances that an award of damages was made instead.

However, as a result of the recent case of Coventry v Lawrence, the position is no longer clear cut and it may be that you are more likely to be awarded compensation/a sum of damages.

Where damages are awarded instead of an injunction there are a number of ways in which the amount due can be valued and this is very much at the discretion of the Court. For example, the Court might award compensatory damages based on the reduction in the value of your property. Alternatively, you may be compensated for effectively being unable to enforce your rights.

When might I receive damages instead of an injunction?

Each case will have to be carefully considered in order to establish whether you have an actionable right and then secondly what the likely remedy will be. Unfortunately for now the position is far from clear and decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

What should I do?

If you think you have grounds for a claim then it is imperative that you take prompt action and obtain legal advice at an early stage. Significant delay is likely to be a factor that a judge considers when deciding whether or not an injunction is the appropriate remedy.

Involved in a property dispute?

For further information on property rights and injunctions or any other commercial or residential property disputes, please contact our dedicated Property Disputes team.

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  • Zoila Smith says:

    My deed has an easement thru a neighbors property. Neighbor has gated the road and can no longer get to my property thru that road. There is a more steep, difficult road that is accessible with four wheel drive, but we do not have four wheel drive. Can I file an injunction to force neighbor to remove gates?

    • Hollie Lilley says:

      Thank you for your comment. It is possible to seek an injunction where there has been a substantial interference with an easement. The test will be whether you can practically and substantially exercise your right of way as conveniently as before the gate was put up. This applies regardless of there being an alternative route.

      We cannot advise you without having sight of your deeds, but generally speaking where there is a valid easement a locked gate will constitute a substantial interference. We will contact you directly to discuss the initial steps and the likely costs involved. Thanks.