Party Walls: Law & Practice (4ed)

Party Walls: Law & Practice (4ed)
Party Walls: Law & Practice (4ed)
Bickford-Smith, S
Jordan Publishing Ltd

Party Walls: Law and Practice provides an authoritative explanation of the law regulating the building, maintenance and repair of party walls, and sets out the process for settling disputes between parties under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

This fourth edition will be fully updated and considerably expanded to incorporate key developments, urther details to follow.

A comprehensive selection of precedents will be provided, including notices, appeals, requests and awards, together with the full text of the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Party Walls: Law and Practice is essential reading for all property lawyers, surveyors and architects.


Application of the Act

Rights of Building Owners

Adjacent Excavation and Construction

Special FoundationsAncillary Rights and Obligations

Rights of Entry

The Award – Procedure and Scope

The Award – Effect and Enforcement

Rights of Appeal

Financial Matters

Security for ExpensesService of Notices

Successors in Title

Relationship with Other

Areas of Law

Criminal Offences



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An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers
and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”

Lawyers dealing in matters of real property and certainly those whose practice puts them within the precincts of the Technology and Construction Court will welcome this latest edition -- the fourth -- of ‘Party Walls Law and Practice.’

Published by LexisNexis, it updates and expands upon a wide range of party wall issues, most of them problem areas – and provides examination and analysis of significant case law since the previous edition published eight years ago.

‘This book,’ as the three co-authors attest, ‘attempts to explain the detailed workings of the Act,’ namely the Party Wall etc Act 1996 which was brought into force on 1st July 1997, ‘subject to transitional provisions.’ We are reminded that the broad object of the Act is to ‘set up machinery enabling the building owner to carry out works within the Scope of the Act.’

It is pointed out that the Act is not without flaws, ranging from inconsistencies to ‘plain errors’ due in part to its long legislative history which goes back, respectively to 1939 to 1894 to 1855 and a lot further back than that. It was the Great Fire of London of 1666 which prompted new legislation (of 1667) on party walls with the aim of ensuring that such widespread destruction would never happen again.

But as subsequent events have shown, legislation can only be partly successful in disaster prevention. Just what a party wall consists of can be a matter of controversy, closely argued and debated at length. Because party wall owners own the same wall, disputes between them in many a circumstance, can quickly become intractable. ‘Man is a territorial animal,’ as the authors point out ‘and party walls demarcate the boundaries between adjoining territories.’

‘Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,’ wrote New England poet Robert Frost, no doubt because matters of ‘demarcation’ do keep cropping up, especially when you have awkward neighbours, which no doubt he did. Fortunately for beleaguered property lawyers and their usually bewildered yet disputatious clients, help is at hand via this book. It is precise, authoritative and readable, which is a relief, considering the complexities of the subject.

Good thing therefore, that the book is easy to use, with a minutely detailed table of contents, useful index and five appendices which include the 1996 and 1939 legislation, a checklist of notices and fifteen precedents. Note too, the extensive tables of cases, statutes, statutory instruments and of European legislation.

In short, this book provides an invaluable guide to the law regulating the construction, repair and maintenance of party walls and the processes by which disputes might be resolved.

‘Good fences make good neighbours,’ wrote Robert Frost, (quoted in the preface) his pen dripping with irony as it implies quite the opposite -- which of course, offers all the more reason why architects and surveyors, as well as property lawyers, should make it their business to acquire this book.

The law is stated as at 1st November 2017 and the publication date is cited as at 14th November 2017.