Judge ends wheelie bin war

Posted: 30th November 2012

Landowners engaged in costly litigation against their neighbours, amidst allegations that the narrowing of a right of way had made it impassable for a wheelie bin, have had their case stopped in its tracks by a senior judge who said he may have ‘done them a good turn’ given the mounting legal costs of the dispute.

BinsMichael and Julie Jones had accused their neighbours, Martin and Marcella Cooke, of obstructing their right of way along a passage between their homes in Llandudno, north Wales. It was argued that, as a result of construction works, the right of way had been reduced in width to the point where it was difficult or impossible for Mr and Mrs Jones to put their wheelie bin out for collection. It was also submitted that a further obstacle had also been created by the installation of a steep flight of steps on the right of way.

Mr and Mrs Jones lost their case at Liverpool County Court when a judge ruled that the alterations to the right of way did not amount to an unlawful obstruction. Challenging that ruling at the Court of Appeal, Mr and Mrs Jones emphasised the difficulty in negotiating the right of way with their wheelie bin and pointed out that, in the deeds to their home, the right of way is expressed to be seven feet and eight inches wide but had now been reduced to only three feet.

Describing the dispute as ‘unfortunate’, Lord Justice Mummery refused to grant Mr and Mrs Jones permission to appeal. He said that their challenge to the county court decision had no realistic prospect of success and that to allow their case to proceed further would probably only serve to expose them to further legal costs.