Success for Joshua Shields at Court of Appeal

August 14, 2017

Joshua Shields from Exchange Chambers has secured a resounding victory for his client at the Court of Appeal.

The case concerned a long-standing property dispute between neighbours – Frank and Carol Dickinson and Mojgan Casillas.  Joshua Shields, instructed by Stephensons Solicitors, acted for Mrs Casillas.

The dispute concerned Mrs Casillas’ gas and electricity meters, which are located in the eight-foot driveway between the two homes.  They are on a wall that can only be accessed from Mr and Mrs Dickinson’s drive – with the retired couple claiming their neighbour had no right to inspect them.

The row began in 2003 when Mr and Mrs Dickinson refused a gas company permission to access the meters. They erected a locked gate on the path to their home and attached to it a cast-iron bar with spikes running across the top.

To resolve the dispute, Mrs Casillas issued proceedings in the County Court at Manchester in May 2013 for declarations of her rights, as she saw them, and an injunction to prevent Mr and Mrs Dickinson interfering with them. The claim was tried before Recorder Khan, with Mrs Casillas represented by Joshua Shields.

After a two-day hearing, in which the parties and other witnesses gave evidence, Judge Khan found in favour of Mrs Casillas on all points and made declarations and injunctions accordingly. On issues of disputed fact, he preferred the evidence of Mrs Casillas. He was highly critical of Mr and Mrs Dickinson, as regards both their conduct before the proceedings were issued and their evidence at the trial.

Mr and Mrs Dickinson took their case to the Court of Appeal, where Lord Justice Longmore and Lord Justice David Richards have again ruled in favour of Mrs Casillas, saying Mr and Mrs Dickinson cannot succeed on any of their grounds of appeal – including their appeal against having to pay Mrs Casillas’ costs.

In his judgment, Lord Justice David Richards said:

“Where most neighbours would have found a sensible solution to the problems that arose between them, Mr and Mrs Dickinson took their stand on what they considered to be their strict legal rights. To their great cost, they were wrong about those rights.”

Joshua is a member of the property department at Exchange Chambers.