June 01, 2013

The (Northern Ireland) Boundary Dispute - a most hateful form of litigation

True to Northern Ireland if you ask me. Retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Alan Ward gives his two cents on boundary dispute:

“This is another of that hideous form of litigation called the boundary dispute, a form of litigation which is best not pursued. Just how much is this stupid piece of land worth? What you are arguing over is a few rhododendron bushes. If you live in St Georges Hill, you've got money to throw away, presumably. But why throw it away like this? You're all potty. Disputes of this kind are a most hateful form of litigation; go away and sort it out."

Here he was in another case:

"Not all neighbours are from hell. They may simply occupy the land of bigotry. There may be no escape from hell but the boundaries of bigotry can with tact be changed by the cutting edge of reasonableness skilfully applied by a trained mediator. Give and take is often better than all or nothing."

In another case he gives some advice on how to patch up differences:

"Love is, of course, an old, old story. 'Amor omnia vincit et nos cedemas amori' – love conquers all, let us surrender ourselves to love – wrote Virgil; 'Love is all you need,' sang the Beatles.”

And some prophetic words on the stubborn, bigoted, pre-1998 thinkers:

"You may be able to drag the horse (a mule offers a better metaphor) to water, but you cannot force the wretched animal to drink if it stubbornly resists. I suppose you can make it run around the litigation course so vigorously that in a muck sweat it will find the mediation trough more friendly and desirable. But none of that provides the real answer."

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