In Chliaifichtein-v- Wainbridge Estates Belgravia Ltd , the defendant undertook probing of the ground adjacent to their neighbour’s foundations in a manner contrary of the provision of a party wall award. The claimant sought and obtained an injunction.
A secondary disagreement arose though, which related to costs in the matter. The claimant sought to recover these from the defendant, who disputed liability. This resulted in a very expensive exercise to establish that they were liable.
The judge said, ‘I note that all of this effort has been expended on costs which, even when taking both parties’ costs together, amount to just over £60,000’ and ‘to incur costs just to argue about their liability for costs is ‘surely the most pointless exercise in any civil litigation’. He went on to summarily assess the claimant’s costs ‘simply to save the parties from a further round of expensive argument as to the precise level of costs which should be paid’.
This case is yet another salutary reminder of the perils of not taking the Party Wall etc Act 1996 seriously.