The landmark case against Network Rail Infrastructure Limited, which was heard in Cardiff County Court last year, went before the Court of Appeal earlier this month.
Charles Lyndon had been successful on behalf of its client Robin Waistell, with judgement handed down by Recorder Grubb in February in 2017. Mr Waistell sued Network Rail for not preventing the encroachment of Japanese knotweed and for the impact that the knotweed had on the price of his property. After a lengthy fight, Mr Waistell succeeded in his claim in private nuisance. He was awarded damages of around £15,000, with a third of that to pay for the cost of treatment.
Network Rail decided to appeal the decision of Recorder Grubb. The appeal was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on the 12th and 13th June 2018. During the hearing Network Rail argued that the presence of Japanese Knotweed on its land was incapable of amounting to a nuisance and, in the event that it escaped onto an adjoining property, then there needed to be physical damage to that property before they were liable to pay compensation.
However, Mr Waistell’s solicitor, Rodger Burnett, Director at Charles Lyndon and his barrister, Stephen Tromans QC, argued that this was incorrect in law and that the fact that the presence of Japanese knotweed on Network Rail’s land and the encroachment onto his property caused Mr Waistell to be unable to sell his house meant that this amounted to a private nuisance.
Rodger Burnett said: “The decision from the Court of Appeal will have huge implications across the whole country. Network Rail Infrastructure Limited manages around 20,000 miles of track across the U.K. Many people own homes or land that border a railway embankment and a significant number of these have problems with Japanese knotweed”
Many of Charles Lyndon’s clients find themselves in a similar position to Mr Waistell and will be taking a keen interest in the Court of Appeal’s decision.
The appeal was heard by Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lady Justice Sharp and Lord Justice Leggatt. It is anticipated that judgment will be handed down by the Court of Appeal in Autumn.
At Charles Lyndon our specialist Japanese knotweed lawyers can help you claim compensation for all types of Japanese knotweed legal issues. If you would like Japanese knotweed legal advice or to discuss a potential Japanese knotweed claim with our specialist legal team please contact Dorothea Antzoulatos or Donna Dewberry at Charles Lyndon (0207 172 1022).