A 2013 decision in the case awarded damages of £4,227.88 plus interest to John Van Dijk and Bernardine Van Dijk.
On appeal against the decision, Lord Justice Floyd said that it was a regrettable feature of the dispute that the litigation was only continuing due to the enormous sums in costs which are at stake.
According to the judgement, the appellant, Terry Court, faced a costs bill from the Van Dijks of £220,000 – and had herself expended costs of around £89,000.
The judge said that ‘We do not know where the blame lies. Nevertheless, the adjective “disproportionate” is wholly inadequate to describe the combined expenditure on resolving the question of who pays a £4,000 bill.’
In September 2013, Mr Recorder Kerr QC ruled that Terry Court should pay the costs that her neighbours incurred to prevent waste water flooding in their backyard in 2010.
The judge said the work Mr Court had done by the council to her drain in 2007, when she had flood problems on her own property, had ‘foreseeably caused damage to a neighbour’s land’ and caused ‘substantial interference’ to her neighbour’s drain system.
But the Court of Appeal reversed the decision, as Floyd said the 2007 work did not cause an ‘actionable nuisance’ and was a ‘reasonable step’ to stop waste water flowing onto her land.
They allowed the appeal and made an order to dismiss the claim against her.
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