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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9325
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Our neighbour has barbed wire on top of the party fence (2

Resolved Question:

our neighbour has barbed wire on top of the party fence (2 metres high) my wife discovered this when painting an adjacent gate
as we have grandchildren who are developing into 'half spider' we have asked our neighbour to remove it which was not received favourably
is there any council department that can enforce its removal or other body?
we are in the Erewash Council area of Breaston (DE72)
Frank Cope
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

Is the barbed wire visible from your side of the property?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
partially, generally stapled flush with fence top, (it was on this part that my wife put her hand) those parts that form semi elliptical loops (maybe 10cm above fence top by 30cm long) were hidden by foliage since removed by pruning. The fence approx 70cm deep sits atop a wall 110cm high
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

There is nothing to stop the barbed wire being in situ. You see it on buildings all the time.

However it must be easily visible otherwise, if anyone is injured by it, the neighbour would be liable.

The neighbour is not allowed to create a “trap”.

There is another potential issue for the neighbour that is that as he knows children on next door, he has to be prepared for children to be less observant than adults and hence, if the children are injured by this (bearing in mind that its 2 m high) there is a potential claim in negligence against him.

You have at least a couple of options.

You give him notice that there are children who play here and you tell him that it’s reasonably foreseeable that they will be playing and may get injured by this and that if they do, will be holding him liable in common law negligence and that’s the reason for the notice.

Bearing in mind what I said in the previous paragraph and to pre-empt that, you can apply to court for an injunction to make him remove the barbed wire on the basis that it is dangerous bearing in mind there are children playing in a garden and the garden is the kind of place where children do play. A solicitors letter threatening the court application and solicitors costs may do the trick without the need to go to court.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
there is only 1 semi elliptical loop as I said 30cm long on our side and it is difficult too see, the other loop returns onto neighbouring property. our front garden is open plan and sometimes the other neighbours children play with our grandchildren (sometimes 7 kids!) children would not notice it, we didn't until my wife put her hand on it!
ours is one of 3 properties in say a 'paddock' off the street, the offending neighbour has access over our property which I would like to withdraw, is that a straightforward process
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

If the neighbour has documented access in the deeds, you cannot withdraw it unless he consents or you own the property you are in in Dubai next door and it comes into common ownership which is probably not practical.

You can’t withdraw it just because it isn’t used because you have fallen out with the neighbour.

If the neighbour has the access because you granted it some years ago informally, you can revoke it. However once it is in a deed, you can’t.

From your description, I think you have sufficient evidence to possibly get it removed but if not, certainly toforce them to make it visible.

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive. We can still exchange emails.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
thanks for that, your response is what I expected, they never assist in maintenance (hedge cutting, leaf clearing etc) even complain when we have deliveries as it restricts their access over my land!!
I think I will screw a large piece of ply to his fence well above its existing height to make it safe from our side if children do turn into spiders! I will take the panel down when he removes the barbed wire! sound ok?
thanks, ***** ***** from derby
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

I think you should tell him that if he will not remove the barbed wire, you will take the course of action (self-help) propose.

If this is his fence, and not a party fence, he is likely to object to that and if he does, you don’t remove it, then he is going to have to take you to court and as it’s all over this barbed wire and the children, it seems likely that the court are not going to have much sympathy with him under these circumstances.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for that.
The fence is actually on his side of the dividing (party) wall. The Wall is as Diagram 3 of the party wall act
His reaction to the subject of the barbed wire was not to address the problem but to accuse me of damaging his wall by attaching shelving to it using plugs and screws!
My interpretation of the Party Wall Act is that a certificate/notification is deemed unnecessary for such things as shelving/units and damage only occurs if say a screw protrudes through his side of the wall, am I correct in this assumption?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 10 months ago.

You are correct with regard to shelves et cetera if the wall is as diagram 3 in this booklet.

or diagram 4 but not if the wall is like diagram 4 but without the intervening building/garage.

F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for that. Yes, I refer to that document often, I undertake architectural design projects, party wall considerations crop up fairly regularly!
I think that we have covered everything. I will only put the ply panel up if the barbed wire isn't removed after say 2 or 3 weeks
Your advice has been excellent, thank you