Q&As

The branches of trees planted on property X overhang property Y. Can the owner of property Y require the owner of property X to cut the overhanging branches?

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Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 05/07/2018

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The branches of trees planted on property X overhang property Y. Can the owner of property Y require the owner of property X to cut the overhanging branches?
  • The right to cut branches from a neighbour’s tree

The branches of trees planted on property X overhang property Y. Can the owner of property Y require the owner of property X to cut the overhanging branches?

The right to cut branches from a neighbour’s tree

The courts have held that where the branches of a tree overhang a neighbour’s land, the neighbour himself has a right to cut off the parts of the tree which overhang their land: Earl of Lonsdale v Nelson at 311 per Best J.

The right to cut the offending branches exists in order to end a nuisance in law which is being caused by their overhanging.

The courts have further held that the aggrieved neighbour does not have to give advance warning to the landowner on whose land the tree is situated that he is going to cut the parts of the tree which overhang: Lemmon v Webb. In that case, Lord Macnaghten summarised the legal position on cutting overhanging branches:

‘I think it is clear that a man is not bound to permit a neighbour's tree to overhang the surface of his land, however long the space above may have been interfered with by the growth of the tree. Nor can it, I think, be doubted that if he can

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