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Rights of Way: Application for injunction relating to interference with rights of way (Carnegie v Raleigh – 2020)

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During a dispute between neighbouring properties, was the ‘dumping’ of cars on land adjacent to a right of way sufficient to warrant grant of an injunction requiring their removal?

The background

In Carnegie v Raleigh [2020], the parties had been engaged on a number of occasions in disputes relating to their neighbouring properties, and in particular in relation to a right of way. Ms Raleigh owned a right of way over a roadway leading to Mr Carnegie’s properties; Mr Carnegie was the legal owner of the roadway. Ms Raleigh’s stepfather, Mr Nolan, was also involved and represented her in court.

Mr Carnegie had carried out repair works to the subject roadway, and Ms Raleigh claimed that this interfered with her rights of way. An interim injunction had been granted, preventing Ms Raleigh and Mr Nolan from obstructing Mr Carnegie’s repair works.

Further, Mr Nolan and/or Ms Raleigh were alleged to have ‘dumped’ 6 cars on Ms Raleigh’s land adjacent to that belonging to Mr Carnegie which was claimed to be causing a nuisance and interfering with Mr Carnegie’s enjoyment of his properties. Ms Raleigh stated that ‘everything is of the claimant’s own making’, making allegations of harassment against Mr Carnegie. No other evidence in Ms Raleigh’s defence was presented, no evidence as to how Ms Raleigh’s rights were breached and no acknowledgement of service given. Mr Carnegie sought an order for the cars to be permanently removed from Ms Raleigh’s land, restraining her from committing a nuisance or harassment.

The decision

The High Court found in favour of Mr Carnegie, concluding firstly that he had established his rights to carry out repair works.

With reference to the cars, Ms Raleigh stated simply that these were placed only on her land and did not pose an environmental problem. Mr Nolan advised the court that the cars were to be refurbished in future, and denied that they were an eyesore. The court states in its deliberations that ‘the cars were on the land as some sort of tit for tat’. The judge doubted the validity of the refurbishment explanation, concluding that no defence was presented and that the poor relationship between the parties resulted in ‘revenge’ or ‘tit for tat’. The cars were ‘dumped’ for no reason other than to cause a nuisance to Mr Carnegie, and therefore the court, finding in his favour, ordered the permanent removal of the vehicles.

Advice and action

One of many examples of neighbour disputes, this case supports the roadway owner in permitting him not only to repair the roadway as necessary but also to be able to enjoy access over it without a visible (and potentially environmental) nuisance caused by cars dumped on adjacent land.

Even though he didn’t own the land on which the cars were left, the fact that they were dumped there, in the court’s view, deliberately to cause a nuisance was sufficient to warrant an order for their removal.

The High Court found in favour of Mr Carnegie. He had established his rights to carry out repair works, and the cars were ‘dumped’ for no reason other than to cause a nuisance to him.

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