Failing to respect your neighbours’ rights is a sure way of getting into legal hot water. In one case that resoundingly proved the point, a couple who strategically placed pot plants and other items in a childish attempt to obstruct a right of way over their land ended up facing legal bills estimated at £200,000.

The couple’s neighbour had a right of way over their yard in order to gain vehicular access to his home. However, in an attempt to boost the value of their property by whittling away at his rights, they placed pot plants, a barbecue, children's toys and other items in such a way as to cause him maximum inconvenience.

In what a judge described as a long and wearying battle, the neighbours routinely filmed each other on their mobile phones and relations between them descended to a point where the police were frequently required to intervene. The neighbour eventually launched legal action to assert his rights.

In granting an injunction against the couple, the judge noted their strong sense of entitlement and absolute conviction that they were morally in the right. They had unlawfully interfered with their neighbour’s right of way but seemed incapable of understanding that they had done anything wrong.

The couple, who were ordered to pay 90 per cent of their neighbour’s legal costs, could not be trusted to respect his rights unless ordered to do so. The injunction required them to keep the right of way free from obstructions of any kind.

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