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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10949
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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If land is owned by a Parish Council (PC) and

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Hello, If land is owned by a Parish Council (PC) and Travellers set-up an encampment, are the PC liable for any damage caused to the residents adjacent to the land as a consequence. Our property is accessed over a wayleave track across the PC land and the Travellers are churning it up with quad-bikes. Also lighting fires in proximity to our thatch. Eviction notice is waiting for the courts but shouldn't the land have been protected as a contingency. Do the PC have a duty of care to have taken reasonable measures to prevent the encampment or expedite their removal. Regards, Peter

1. You can sue the PC for nuisance for the use of their property by the travellers. However, damages will not be great unless you can show more direct harm than simply churning up the path to your land. As a general principle, a property is liable for any use of their land which constitutes a nuisance. However, here, the party primarily liable to you in nuisance are the travellers, not the PC. Secondly, there is no obligation on a land owner to have taken reasonable measures to prevent an encampment or to expedite the removals of travellers. These are not obligations known to the law. It is up to each land owner to decide what to do when travellers come to stop on their land. That particular landowner is not liable in damages to other neighbouring landowners if they don't quickly or immediately move to eject the travellers. This is an idea unknown to law.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the answer which is the information I sought. Disappointing, but I cannot hold you responsible for a flawed law!

Damage to the path is one thing, but (potentially) igniting our thatch from the bonfires?

There are many bye-laws covering this land which preclude the use of bonfires and vehicles etc.

My understanding from your answer is that this are of little or no relevance. There is clearly no pressure we can apply to encourage the PC to be more timely and effective in securing the land. We will just have to use charm and persuasion to get them to do the right thing.

2. Dear *****, The PC cannot be liable to you for the travellers' actions in lighting bonfires which ignited your thatch. AGain, the PC do not owe an obligation to the world at large to supervise or safeguard what the travellers do. You can sue the travellers for their actions, but not the PC, as the PC did not do the action which gives rise to legal liability. Secondly, bye laws to not of themselves give rise to legal liability. Particularly liability on the part of an owner for another's actions. You need to realise that fundamentally, the law rarely make's one person liable for the wrongful actions of another. Even if they occupy their land unlawfully.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I do understand and thank you again for the clarification.

Just thought they may have some duty of care or diligence but I accept that is wishful thinking.

Much appreciated.

Kind regards,


Best wishes