Liaquat and Liphe Ali from Edgware ordered to pay £15,500 over wheelie bin dispute with neighbour

Times Series: Liphe and Liaquat Ali outside their home in Brook Avenue, Edgware. Liphe and Liaquat Ali outside their home in Brook Avenue, Edgware.

A couple who have been in a drawn-out dispute for using a wheelie bin in their shared driveway have been ordered to pay more than £15,500 in legal fees.

Liaquat and Liphe Ali were given the bill at a costs hearing at the High Court following the three-year argument with their next door neighbour, Iqban Suleman.

Mr Suleman began a civil action in 2011 when he claimed the couple’s bin was blocking access to the driveway they share in Brook Avenue, Edgware.

Mr Ali, who has lived in the property with his wife and two sons for 13 years, said the battle took over his family’s life.

Speaking to the Times Series, the 50-year-old said: “It’s been stressful for my wife and children. When my wife and I speak about it at home the children get very upset.

“Waking up every morning we would always anticipate the post with dread and horror, hoping it wouldn’t be another solicitor’s letter.”

The hearing was thrown out at Barnet County Court last year when it was agreed both parties must not block the alleyway between their semi-detached houses with their wheelie bins, and that the Alis should pay Mr Suleman’s legal costs.

At the High Court on Tuesday, Mr Suleman’s solicitors from Lyons Davidson initially asked for £20,000, as well as more than £17,100 for the day’s court session.

This was reduced to a total sum of £15,733, which the Alis have been given just 14 days to pay.

Mr Ali, a self-employed IT consultant, said: “My wife burst out crying and said ‘my God we’ll be selling our house’.

“I was completely numb. It just felt completely surreal and it still hasn’t really sunk in. I’m still hoping something can be done to resolve it. It’s completely outrageous.

“It’s come at a really bad time – it’s not something you want to have on your mind over Christmas.”

The couple are considering remortgaging their house to pay off the fee.

Mr Ali has also warned of the potential danger of copycats attempting to use a similar dispute to get money out of their neighbours.

He said: “There are a lot of shared driveways in Barnet – this action could set up some sort of a legal precedent for other neighbours to do the same.”

Lyons Davidson, commenting on behalf of Mr Suleman, said: “The case was not about wheelie bins but about the right of way. Our clients have been through the legal process and Mr Ali agreed to pay our clients' costs which were finalised yesterday and the matter is now concluded.”

But MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord, has called the ruling “ridiculous” and plans to take it up with the Attorney General.

He said: “Common sense says that for an incident in which there was no material loss to result in a demand for over £15,000 in costs is ridiculous. This is not the sort of case that should be taking up court time and I shall be raising the matter with the Attorney General again to seek changes to the legal system that will prevent such practices occurring.”

The Times Series has been unable to get in contact with Mr Suleman.

Comments (10)

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12:52am Fri 20 Dec 13

SilentReaper says...

My first instinct was to say about Mr Ali was "serve you right". I then listened to a BBC London 94.9 radio phone in the morning (19th December) around 8.15 AM just a few minutes before leaving for work when the man himself (Mr Ali) phoned in and spoke to Penny Smith and Paul Ross. Paul was trying hard to play devil's advocate but Mr Ali gave him very plausible answers to every question he asked and when it was even suggested Mr Ali should have given in, i.e. just put his bin away, thereby not challenging the claim, he (Mr Ali) replied by saying he did put his bin away in the front of the house and gave Suleman (the Claimant's) first solicitor an email saying that much but explaining its an open area and unless anyone stands there 24/7 watching that space, it's virtually impossible to police it and now and then it's out of his control due to the actions of the bin men but that failed and he was being pursued by the solicitor for an undertaking too! Even Penny Smith didn't argue with that point Mr Ali made and who in their right mind would give anyone an undertaking... I thought a man is king of his castle! The Courts have definitely made a mockery of Mr Ali as he said himself! Good luck to you and I hope your MP helps you out!
My first instinct was to say about Mr Ali was "serve you right". I then listened to a BBC London 94.9 radio phone in the morning (19th December) around 8.15 AM just a few minutes before leaving for work when the man himself (Mr Ali) phoned in and spoke to Penny Smith and Paul Ross. Paul was trying hard to play devil's advocate but Mr Ali gave him very plausible answers to every question he asked and when it was even suggested Mr Ali should have given in, i.e. just put his bin away, thereby not challenging the claim, he (Mr Ali) replied by saying he did put his bin away in the front of the house and gave Suleman (the Claimant's) first solicitor an email saying that much but explaining its an open area and unless anyone stands there 24/7 watching that space, it's virtually impossible to police it and now and then it's out of his control due to the actions of the bin men but that failed and he was being pursued by the solicitor for an undertaking too! Even Penny Smith didn't argue with that point Mr Ali made and who in their right mind would give anyone an undertaking... I thought a man is king of his castle! The Courts have definitely made a mockery of Mr Ali as he said himself! Good luck to you and I hope your MP helps you out! SilentReaper

11:34pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Donkey Joe says...

I read on a BBC website, the Claimant takes his bin out from his back garden when the bin lorry arrives. In my street they come around 6:35 AM. If that's true, he must be a right nutter! Serves him right for trying to sue his neighbour for £36 grand.

I hope he gets out of Brook Avenue quickly wherever he may live! What a nasty piece of work.
I read on a BBC website, the Claimant takes his bin out from his back garden when the bin lorry arrives. In my street they come around 6:35 AM. If that's true, he must be a right nutter! Serves him right for trying to sue his neighbour for £36 grand. I hope he gets out of Brook Avenue quickly wherever he may live! What a nasty piece of work. Donkey Joe

12:47pm Sat 21 Dec 13

RespectAndDignity says...

What's happening with people these days. That saying "Love Thy Neighbour" has certainly flown out of the window. Putting the rights and wrongs of the case to one side, (I'm not taking anyone's side here) but to sue your next door neighbour for £36 grand over a wheelie bin.... Suleman obviously has too much time on his hands and as the other blogger above said, is a nasty bit of work!

We should all sign a petition and get him out of Barnet. In my humble opinion of course. Respect and Dignity.
What's happening with people these days. That saying "Love Thy Neighbour" has certainly flown out of the window. Putting the rights and wrongs of the case to one side, (I'm not taking anyone's side here) but to sue your next door neighbour for £36 grand over a wheelie bin.... Suleman obviously has too much time on his hands and as the other blogger above said, is a nasty bit of work! We should all sign a petition and get him out of Barnet. In my humble opinion of course. Respect and Dignity. RespectAndDignity

10:58pm Mon 23 Dec 13

TheMagicCircle says...

Never challenge these "lawyers". It is David v Goliath and the outcome is always one way! I heard from the BBC London News last week on Tuesday 17th December, Ali's bill was actually £54,000 in total! I think that law firm could have bought half the wheelie bins for Barnet. A

Also yeah tit for tat as one neighbour's bin is another neighbour's obstruction. Well we're all off to Lyons Davidson to litigate. Case law has now been set.

Attention Barnet Council - are you listening! You will have to make up new bin collection rules and chaos and mayhem will no doubt ensue.
Never challenge these "lawyers". It is David v Goliath and the outcome is always one way! I heard from the BBC London News last week on Tuesday 17th December, Ali's bill was actually £54,000 in total! I think that law firm could have bought half the wheelie bins for Barnet. A Also yeah tit for tat as one neighbour's bin is another neighbour's obstruction. Well we're all off to Lyons Davidson to litigate. Case law has now been set. Attention Barnet Council - are you listening! You will have to make up new bin collection rules and chaos and mayhem will no doubt ensue. TheMagicCircle

5:10pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Donkey Joe says...

There are tens of thousands of shared driveways in North London, let alone the entire country and many are blocked with wheelie bins and rubbish. I think Lyons Davidson Solicitors will be onto a nice little earner now the word is out. Yes Barnet Council, Haringey Council, Camden Council and everyone else, e.g. waste management, recycling, householders and so on, WATCH OUT AND KEEP THAT ALLEYWAY CLEAR! £54,000 legal bill is on its way!
There are tens of thousands of shared driveways in North London, let alone the entire country and many are blocked with wheelie bins and rubbish. I think Lyons Davidson Solicitors will be onto a nice little earner now the word is out. Yes Barnet Council, Haringey Council, Camden Council and everyone else, e.g. waste management, recycling, householders and so on, WATCH OUT AND KEEP THAT ALLEYWAY CLEAR! £54,000 legal bill is on its way! Donkey Joe

5:49pm Tue 24 Dec 13

Fresh Prince says...

About 99% of the UK population moves a wheelie bin if it is getting in the way. This guy must have special dispensation or must be a cripple if he had to spend £54,000 in legal costs to quote "secure his right of way"! He might have well just have sold up, bought another house with his OWN driveway! What a waste of money and the guy is a nut! I wonder what this spells out for the rest of the UK. We might as well all litigate against rubbish in the street, bins blocking alleyways and pedestrian walkways at the back of shops, train stations, car parks, you name it!

The legal implications and fallout of this case (Suleman -v- Ali) in the not too distant future must be huge!
About 99% of the UK population moves a wheelie bin if it is getting in the way. This guy must have special dispensation or must be a cripple if he had to spend £54,000 in legal costs to quote "secure his right of way"! He might have well just have sold up, bought another house with his OWN driveway! What a waste of money and the guy is a nut! I wonder what this spells out for the rest of the UK. We might as well all litigate against rubbish in the street, bins blocking alleyways and pedestrian walkways at the back of shops, train stations, car parks, you name it! The legal implications and fallout of this case (Suleman -v- Ali) in the not too distant future must be huge! Fresh Prince

5:57pm Tue 24 Dec 13

TheMagicCircle says...

Lyons Davidson: "£54,000 legal bill over a bin.... Whoopie, Christmas has come early!"

For everything else and more serious, e.g. fly tipping and so on, try www.fixmystreet.com OR complain to the Council. Problem is usually resolved in a day or two and with little or no money or stress.

I rest my case!
Lyons Davidson: "£54,000 legal bill over a bin.... Whoopie, Christmas has come early!" For everything else and more serious, e.g. fly tipping and so on, try www.fixmystreet.com OR complain to the Council. Problem is usually resolved in a day or two and with little or no money or stress. I rest my case! TheMagicCircle

6:49pm Thu 26 Dec 13

TheMagicCircle says...

"whats christmas got to do with him anyway?" What's "Whats christmas got to do with him anyway?" got to do with you too! Maybe the guy has time off from work (Christmas) and wants peace, quiet and rest with his family like everyone else, i.e. most normal people! What has that comment got to do with this story!
"whats christmas got to do with him anyway?" What's "Whats christmas got to do with him anyway?" got to do with you too! Maybe the guy has time off from work (Christmas) and wants peace, quiet and rest with his family like everyone else, i.e. most normal people! What has that comment got to do with this story! TheMagicCircle

7:06pm Thu 26 Dec 13

Fresh Prince says...

paisley... if you don't want a grown up debate about wheelie bins and wheelie bin alone, then please leave this forum and in my opinion (and I hope everyone agrees), your provocative thoughts to yourself.
paisley... if you don't want a grown up debate about wheelie bins and wheelie bin alone, then please leave this forum and in my opinion (and I hope everyone agrees), your provocative thoughts to yourself. Fresh Prince

7:22pm Sun 29 Dec 13

TheMagicCircle says...

I found some useful BBC stories, saved on youtube and the links are pasted in below:-

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=a62S_u1JM
mA
http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=jo7BsHNhQ
BE

Seems to be case concluded.
I found some useful BBC stories, saved on youtube and the links are pasted in below:- http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=a62S_u1JM mA http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=jo7BsHNhQ BE Seems to be case concluded. TheMagicCircle

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