The reality of a situation

We were recently involved in a claim where we were asked to act for a potential defendant, who was an Architect, in relation to a claim against him; this was not a right of light matter but the lessons from this are absolutely applicable to rights of light.  

We did not, at the time, provide a CPR35 expert witness report.  Instead, we provided our client’s legal team with our totally frank and honest surveyor’s opinion of the situation. 

In all honesty, the defendant’s case was very weak, and would most likely have been unsuccessful if matters had proceeded to court.

Six figure compensation settlement

We have subsequently found out that the matter has now been settled with a six figure claim against the potential defendant’s PI Insurance – ouch!  

But, this is still preferable to proceeding to court with all of the additional legal costs, which could easily have added many tens of thousands of pounds to both sides’ costs.   

Accepting a situation

Sometimes, there is no sensible option but to accept the reality of the situation and move forwards from that acknowledged position.  It is what it is!

There is no point in continuing with the delusion that a position is defensible if the reality is that it is not.  

Taking this lesson and applying it with regards to rights of light

With some potential claims, whether a PI claim against a professional or, some kind of civil claim, an appraisal of the basis of the claim might be at least mostly just a matter of opinion, for example, is the quality of that brickwork acceptable? Although there may be some applicable industry standards, largely this type of consideration is a matter of professional opinion.  

But, with rights of light, although there may be some basis for discussion of the appropriate details of the appraisal, the right of light assessment itself is largely a precise numerical matter.  If six right of light consultants were to undertake a software analysis of a potential right of light matter, if all of these assessments were equally accurate, the results should all be exactly the same.  And, subject to an acknowledged borderline ‘grey’ area of legal injury results, the accepted basis for a legal right of light injury is currently not in doubt.

So, on occasions, it is necessary to simply accept the situation.  If a development causes a neighbour to suffer large losses of light and leaves rooms inadequately lit by daylight then that is the situation; there is no point in pretending that is not so.  Trying to defend the indefensible could cost thousands of pounds if the defendant were to lose.  In such cases, it can sometimes be better to accept it and move on from that place.

How we can help

At Smith Marston we offer expert right of light advice.  Whether you are a developer, planning to build, or a neighbour affected by a loss of light, we will provide you with our totally honest appraisal of the situation.  If that situation is bad, even if it’s not what you want to hear, you need to know the reality, whatever that reality is, and we will report back to you accordingly.


Related Articles

Rights Of Light: How To Handle Conflict Between Parties

Right to Light Matters: A Surveyors Guide to Taking a Neighbour to Court

How to Object to Planning Permission on the Grounds of Loss of Light

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