Laying Down The Law: Neighbour Disputes Over Large Gate. What Do I Do?

Our communal path leads to the neighbour’s back door, and they have erected a large gate with a bolt outside our door. We are really annoyed, and gave no permission for this obstacle. The neighbour says it is legal and for security purposes.

If you own your home check your deeds. I doubt they give any neighbour the right to obstruct a common access path. If rented, ask your landlord if permission was given and check your lease to see if there is any permission for neighbours to do this. I suspect the neighbour has no right to do this without your consent, and you should consult a local solicitor armed with your deeds or lease.

My elderly father has £20,000 savings but is receiving full state benefits. I have told him there may be a limit to the money he is allowed and he may be committing fraud each time he cashes his pension. I can’t seem to get through that he should at least make enquiries about the position to stop him possibly digging a deeper hole.

If a person gets income support/pension credit, there are different calculations that apply as to how much capital you can have. With income support the upper limit is £16,000. Your dad may not have been committing a criminal act if he genuinely made an error (though ignorance of the law is actually no excuse in law), but he must tell the Department for Work and Pensions of the situation. If he continues to claim he does run a risk of prosecution. When the time comes for him to pass away, the DWP will see information on the estate he leaves and reclaim any overpayment via the executor.

I was at work and some crates fell off a shelf on to me. I strained my back and it has steadily got worse, so I can now no longer lift stock in the factory. I don't want to make a fuss with a claim but I am really suffering.

You must claim. And if you leave it too long ( i.e. more than three years without getting settlement out of court, or starting a court action) your claim will be time-barred and will be lost permanently. If you suffer pain and/or lose earning capacity, your employer is liable.

My husband of 24 years left me five years ago for another woman. He now wants me to sell the house as the youngest child is 16. It’s in joint names. I want to divorce him for adultery but my lawyer says there is no point. And why should I be forced to sell when the break-up was certainly not my fault?

The law separates out the grounds of divorce from the financial and property aspects. Your lawyer’s advice is good – a divorce for adultery will not get you any better settlement. While you could certainly proceed on adultery, it would be simpler and cheaper to use separation as the ground of divorce. And if the property is in joint names he can force a sale.

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