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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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My daughters partner (who is half Indian)bought a semi detached

Resolved Question:

My daughters partner (who is half Indian)bought a semi detached house and gutted it back to bare bricks.He
is a architect and has renovated the property to a very high standard,also adding a Dormer.
During the renovation a considerable amount of noise was made.Dave made approach to the
neighbours to explain what he was doing. The neighbour has been very hostile towards the family. During the work the neighbour told electricians and double-glazers ' be careful, he won't pay you'. The renovation was several years ago, Dave submitted plans for an extension and the neighbour opposed it getting several other neighbours to do the same. On Thursday of last week work started on redesign of the garden, yesterday the contacted was told by the neighbour ' careful, he doesn't pay'.
Under common law is the neighbour being slanderous and how would we deal with this?
Regards
John Waudby
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 2 years ago.
Hi John, Welcome to just answer. I will try and assist you.
You are correct that making false statements about someone is defamation. In theory Dave could sue the neighbour for this. The normal process with defamation is to get a solicitor to write requiring an undertaking not to repeat the slander, seeking an apology and possibly damages.
Your or Dave can of course do that. I have to warn you however that defamation actions are expensive and frankly any damages are likely to be extremely small so if the threat is not effective it may ot be sensible to issue proceedings.
Clearly there is an issue with this neighbour but I suspect threatening legal action is likely to make things worse not better. I wonder if your daughter and Dave had thought about trying to have a mediation? This can be an effective way of resolving neighbour disputes.
See here to find a mediator:http://www.civilmediation.justice.gov.uk There are mediators who specialise in getting the parties together to resolve neighbour issues.
Of course you can try and use the courts to get an injunction to restrain this man but as this is slander you will have to call witnesses such as the contractor to establish what was said and it is not always easy to do that -the contractor may not want ot get involved in court proceedings. Any litigation that depends solely on oral evidence i.e. there is no written proof- always runs the risk that the judge prefers his evidence to yours. So by all means threaten legal proceedings but I would be very cautious before actually going to court.
Please let me know if I can clarify anything or if you have further supplemental questions.
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