Party Wall Surveyor Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB

Estoppel & Party Walls

Estoppel – this is the principle which precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement – Frances Holland School v Wassef 2001 – if Surveyors/owners proceed wrongly but proceed none the less they commit themselves to a course which can not be stopped by stating they should not have gone along the wrongful journey they have. However if the preliminary procedures of the act are not followed (serving of notices, appointment of surveyors etc) and owners to not acquiesce to the procedure there is not jurisdiction to proceed – Rodrigues v Sokal 2008.

Estoppel is very important when determining the jurisdiction of surveyors;  Surveyors who are inadequate will often not realise the importance of following the letter of the law when establishing jurisdiction and consider themselves appointed and proceed with settling a dispute ex parte or with a fellow inadequate third surveyor (often appointed inadequately by a local council officer (see below)); their inadequacy leads to an ignorant attempt to usurp the legislation.  What the other surveyor and their appointed owner(s) must realise is that if they can be seen to consent and join the inadequate surveyor along his journey the doctrine of estoppel can give legitimacy to the inadequate surveyor and remove  rights and jurisdiction.

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