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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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A newspaper published an article about potential timebomb

Customer Question

A newspaper published an article about potential 'timebomb' of mining subsidence in an area that I own a £280k house and featured a photo of the green with houses in the background. one of the houses is the property I own and rent out and I want to know what legal action, if any, I can take against the newspaper due to the effect this will now have on property prices. The article is still available to view online. When the properties were built, the builders identified the mines that were there and dealt with them accordingly so this article is without foundation. can anyone help?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.
Do you have a specific question?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I want to know if there is any legal action i can take against the newspaper for publishing a photo of my property and talking about subsidence when there is no issue.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

the link to the article is:

Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

I had a good friend who lived in Kimberley
a when I was in financial services over 20 years ago. I seem to remember they
had an annual pram race which was a big event. I threatened to go over one
weekend for several years but it never happened. I should look him up.

This is the second time this kind of
thing has cropped up on this site in the last fortnight was over different
issues in completely different areas.

The newspaper is reporting actual
events, and you couldn't do nothing to stop them reporting the actual events
and can do nothing to stop them printing what people have said.

In this area a coal search is mandatory
when buying a property and British Coal have 99% accurate records of where the
mine shafts and the workings are.

In the property eventually subsides due
to past coal workings British Coal will pay compensation.

In order for you to claim compensation
in respect of the article you would have to prove that you have suffered loss.

You would need proof from a valuer
would give a value before the article was printed and proof from a valuer after
the article was printed.

You would need evidence that the
article had devalued your property.

In that respect, it may be worth while
speaking to a couple of local agents to get their slant on it.

Without that evidence, you are dead in
the water.

Assuming that you get that evidence, you
are then faced with sueing the newspaper for defamation or blight. It would not
be easy litigation and it is unlikely that you would find the solicitor to deal
with it No win no fee.

If you went to court and lost you could
be looking at a legal bill of between 10,000 and £20,000, although if you won,
you would get that back.

It depends whether you want to spend
and risk the money on the litigation and whether, in the eyes of an experienced
valuer, the article makes any difference to the value of your property.

I appreciate that this isnt what you want to hear but there is no point in me misleading you.

Does that answer your question? Can I help

The next part is really important for me:

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The thread remains open. Thanks

Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

Incidentally, dealing with coal mines is a
specialist job and can only be undertaken by British Coal because of the gas
risk. The builders therefore will not have been able to "deal" with anything
but will only have been able to have carried out searches and investigations.

They may have put the properties on a raft however,
to minimise substance damage