Defending one's entrance gates against bullying neighbours

I am in the middle of a court case regarding land dispute of boundaries.
On a site whose boundaries have been in place since Napoleon, I have
been the owner since 2007 and had a caravan there for summer stays until
2016, when a neighbour who bought the adjacent plot, began to harass me
with complaints about my car, my caravan etc. I moved the car, then the
caravan and once he began to put a plastic sheet over my own boundary
and destroy all the vegetation, I objected and explained that the
boundary was a wall almost hidden by debris which had fallen down from
his plot was hence covering my own pathway through the brow of my field.
According to his surveyor the ancient wall dividing our properties has no value and he prefers to look at the cadastra maps which are accurate to plus or minus one metre.
The disputed piece of land is only 1.2m wide and less than 5m long but encompasses my gate post and if I am forced to remove this as he desires, then I will no longer be able to access my land with my caravan nor a tractor.

I have now employed a land surveyor to measure her version of this
disputed boundary and would like to know if others have been
able to reach the highest land authority, so, calling on those who would protect the heritage of this respected land, can defend the 300 year old entrance.

Hi Kenneth

You are in the middle of a Court Case… good luck and keep persevering. What does your Advocat say ?

The Mairie has links to cadastrale maps old and modern. Have you asked them to check into this for you? When you bought the property, was a géomètre involved and was your purchase Registered?? ( just like Land Registry in UK)

The Mairie can look at things you and I cannot get access to…ask for their help.

As I understand it (and you need to check since I’m no lawyer) if this change makes your land inaccessible (enclavé) then they cannot refuse to give you right of access (droit du passage or servitude de passage).

But as a general approach, taking the case to ever higher and higher authorities will cost more and more and add stress to your life. So rarely worth it. Perhaps seek a mediator to get this to a mutually acceptable solution?


Thanks Stella,
Done all your suggestions and no help since the other party seems to have a strong enough connection to the mayor that he in turn sends me threats of getting the gendarmie or others to remove a couple of old tyres that are in the 7000 metre field as they could suddenly ignite and endanger the whole community. Lawyers and surveyors need to have enough money to be able to impress new clients and thus remain in the game, if the client loses or wins they still get their money so not much enthusiasm to be gained there. It is the guardians of the French culture who need to be informed. Old historic oaks destroyed so that someone gets a nice view, ancient walls left to crumble so that signs of the past are obliterated.

Hi Jane, thanks for your contribution. The question is access for what? One may access with a bicycle, or on foot, but with a tractor or in my case a caravan it will be impossible if my entrance is reduced in size by removing one gate post. A mediator is a cheaper solution. We have only until 11th June court meeting to solve this. The man seems intent on harassing me one way or the other. If I win then I can claim 30 months of wasted time in defending myself and my own costs which are now over €3000 and still rising.

Hope you got deep (very deep) pockets matey.
Suggesting the Maire is corrupt is not going to help your cause…
You need to think outside the ‘box’ if you are to get this settled without losing your shirt.

Well, Kenneth… if you’ve done everything on my list… you will need to present all the documents at the Mediation Hearing… and argue your case.

And with right on your side, if Mediation fails, you will need to go to the Courts.

An extra thought… do you have photos of the place from 2007, which might show what has since been overgrown etc… ???

Did you contact Batiment de France ?? to chat things through ??

Droit de passage is for a vehicle, as most used in agricultural context. In our commune a parcel of land got enclavé because of land being split up through inheritance. Anyway the owner of that parcel got rights to take his tractor across other land, (owned by his cousin who he was feuding with).

Unfortunately old oaks and historic dry stone walls aren’t often seen as precious parts of local heritage here.

Hi Kenneth,
whilst my initial response is to support fighting the injustice and wrongdoing sometimes it’s not just worth the grief/stress or expense - can you move the other gatepost on the other side of the opening then sit back with a bottle of wine :slight_smile:
best of luck

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Wise sentiments but sometimes you have to be careful that you won’t just be moving the gatepost another few feet later on, then another - sometimes it is necessary to stand one’s ground.


When we had an issue years ago with regard to spraying poison on our land (near the boundary) and into our lakes the man from Onema came along together with the man from the agricultural body. He had all the cadastre of our land and actually proved that the mayor had sold land he should not have, however that aside, I found the best way forward was to tackle the matter through the agricultural land people and water body than the mayor or the boundary man. Just a thought.

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Good suggestion Patricia, and thanks to all who have contributed so far. I have too many items to deal with now to answer them all, but now armed with a more realistic surveyor’s report I am receiving comments that I have a good chance of winning now.


“Illegitimi non carborundum” Kenneth :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

Sorry, but I know someone who had a similar historical problem.

You are bound to lose that court case if the other side has bonafide cadastral maps of the property. Moreover, there should be “markers” that the surveyor actually put in the ground - if he was doing his job correctly.

If there are no “property markers” (called “repères de bordure”), I suggest you have your own surveyor install them according to the cadastral measurements.

Then take photos of them in the ground with a date shown …

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I would have thought that existing walls (even ruins of) would be useful for boundary disputes… :wink:

And the Cadastrale plans, the ones on the govt site (not the public one) … will certainly show the history of the area…

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Our “garden” (wilderness might be a better word) is around 5500M2 and quite a bit longer than wide. We have a rather stroppy Portuguese man living at the bottom end who was encroaching on our patch, chopping down our trees etc. So we had the bornage done. A very professional job with maps, GPS, orange bornes installed and cadastre updated etc. Turned out that another neighbour’s fence was a couple of meters on our land as well, not that we really cared. Anyway the half day exercise was expensive, about €1K if I remember correctly, but now everybody knows what’s what so futher incursions will be avoided or at least quickly resolved.

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Hi Kenneth… any news… can you update us… please ??? :relaxed:

The lawyer supposed to represent me said at one point that she was not an expert and so could only take the word of a land surveyor. She also delayed informing me of developments and thus put the whole case in danger, she further claimed if I were to speak myself to the court she would immediately abandon the case. I immediately sought another lawyer who was able to tell me that there is a law forbidding hindering access to land but she is not able to help with suing the first lawyer - they are all in a big club and club members do not do nasty things to other club members.

I am the type of person who due to my stubborn attitude has brought very large institutions to ruin in the past (Dai Ichi Kangyo) - was the world’s biggest bank when they regarded me as just a small fish.
I trust the French judicial system to apply justice and hence continue to invest time and money into this episode.

If corruption is evident then I will let others know.

In September the new date for the trial will be made known.


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You’ve probably worked your way through this… but, if not… :relaxed:

It was heard at court and I received the verdict on Friday 22nd February 2019. It seems that the evidence I produced after taking in a second lawyer has not been counted and so I have all costs to pay and must accept new markers which restrict my entrance from 3m to just 2m.
The new evidence showed that the surveyor drew up plans in 2009 showing no markers (bornes) and then when the new neighbour arrived he made the same plans with different lengths (on the same lines of the map) and even invented new markers which were labelled as ‘historical’.
I wrote to the Council of Surveyors in Bordeaux explaining that I would make this very public throughout Europe and they responded the very same day. They had ignored my previous mail to them at the very start (July 2016), but are now making a disciplinary investigation, this will take a few months.
So now I have less than a month to think about going to the appeal court in Bordeaux, but using the site to find a decent lawyer I see there are no property experts outside Paris. One lawyer willing to do this for €1300 explains he will only do this in written form and is not willing to travel to Bordeaux to make an oral defence.

If I leave it, I must pay €2000 to the surveyor who was appointed by the courts and who has made a plan showing a wall where it does not exist, and I must also pay for installation of new markers. If I continue I need to trust the French judicial system to be fair and have been informed that I will not get my lawyer fees back, but need to go to the criminal court to achieve this.
Two and a half years of my life consumed with fighting against a man who has annoyed each and every other neighbour around him and all are afraid to do anything against him. He has now got his house up for sale (secretly on Le Bon Coin) and he was not interested in making a gentleman’s agreement to save us both money and hassle, when I asked him two or three weeks ago.

Everyone around the world I have asked about general law problems have advised me to pay now and be over with this hassle but risking to pay another €3500 ( lawyer and another surveyor fees which I don’t have but a bank loan is possible) to get the chance to get the whole thing examined is still attractive.

Your comments are welcome but do not be dismayed if I can’t find the time to respond to each!