The case of a family who have to leave their £600,000 home of 31 years over a boundary dispute underlines the importance of getting expert legal advice over property disputes and conveyancing, says Ogier planning and construction law specialist Claire Smith.

The case of the Constantine family in London has been prominently featured in the national media after they lost their eight-year legal challenge to a neighbour's extension that they claimed encroached three inches into their land – and ended with a £132,544 bill.

Claire, whose practice in property and construction law spans both Guernsey and Jersey, says that with property prices far higher than the UK average in the Channel Islands and the planning laws in some areas far older and more complex, islanders should carefully consider planning disputes and take specialist advice.

"Emotions can run very high in property disputes, but given the high value of land, people need to consider planning disputes very carefully before taking any action," she said.

"It is all too easy to imagine these circumstances playing out in exactly the same way here – I would urge anyone involved in any kind of similar dispute to take full legal advice from a specialist, and to consider all kinds of negotiated agreement before taking action in court."

In Jersey, the Ogier team has for the last two years been the only one ranked in the top tier by influential independent legal directory Chambers and Partners.

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