We are in dispute over a piece of land. The land is not registered at the Land Registry. The Council had said they owned none of it. Then when we sought to adversely possess it, the Council came back and angrily stated they thought they owned it but were unwilling to provide proof (deeds). Another one of your colleagues has been giving me great advice – including how to demand such things through Freedom of Information Act requests. The council have now conceded that they do not have deeds for the vast majority of the land, but are now being petty by refusing to come down to the site with a surveyor (they employ a whole department of surveyors internally) and mark out where the border lines exactly are. At one stage the Council even reported us to the police for criminal damage (a comedy of errors as the Council were clueless about where even their lands were – they haven’t even inspected the site for themselves).
It may help you to think of the land as falling into 4 parts - 1, 2, 3 & 4.
1,2 & 3 are unregistered at the LR and were the lands we first sought to Adversely possess
4 is registered to the Council at LR and we have never touched it.
1 seems now to belong to the Council as they have found deeds (it is a tiny tip of the land)
2 & 3 form the bulk of the unregistered land. The Council have stated they do not have deeds for “the rest”
However, the property solicitors and property surveyors, experts in property and law, when reporting us to the police got confused between 4 (the land we have never done anything with) with 3 (which we are clearing and planting) and informed them we had committed criminal damage on their land by clearing it.
I have tried several approached to get the Council to see sense and confirm that they neither own 2 or 3, but “the rest” as they have stated seems only to refer to 2 and they are insisting we go to public records at LR for 3 as they seem to really think this is 4 and so registered at the LR – they do not have to provide paperwork under a FOIA request when it is publically available elsewhere.
I have sent them a map showing 2 & 3 only and asking them if they have any deeds for this land. But they are refusing to accept that the boundary lines are drawn accurately and refusing to help us, with one of their surveyors agree on accurate boundaries. While I will persist with their pettiness, your colleague recommended I apply to the High Court for a “court declaration” to ask for a Declaration that the Council does not own the Land – however, he does not seem to know how to do this exactly and on which forms.
Can you tell me basically how to do this (1) What Pre-Action protocols will be needed to be fulfilled, (2) what form to fill out (form numbers), (3) what evidence I should seek to provide and what I should state in the form generally + anything else I should do or consider
As with most applications to the High Court, I do hope that receipt of pre-action protocol information as well as the lodging of the forms themselves with “clarify” their minds and they will realise that having a surveyor work with us to agree borders etc will be cheaper and better than having a High Court judge do it for them. I wish to do this myself, as I wish to frustrate their approach of trying to bankrupt me into submission – intimidation has been an integral part of their approach all along.
I need a clear declaration of where the border is, as the Council have made it clear through the police that if we put a foot on their land they will report us for trespass and possible criminal damage – the deeds are not perfectly clear where the line is so we could be walking on a minefield at the edge of the land…
Have you managed to find an expert for me yet - one who knows specifically how to apply for one of these High Court declarations?
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Due to the confusion about plots 2, 3 & 4 - which the Council owned/had deeds for or not - I sent them a letter1) I stated thanks for confirming that you do not OWN the remainder of the landTo which they responded that they had never said they do not own the land, just that they did not possess any deeds for it - what am I to make of this response?
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