Farm courtyard appeal verdict

A "calamitous" war between neighbours over a 12-ft cobbled courtyard in Hebden Bridge has ended with a top judge reversing a Halifax County Court ruling.

At London's Civil Appeal Court, Lord Justice Mummery said the battle between Keith James, of Great Jumps Farm, Erringden, and neighbours Andrew and Cheryl Bradford was "a depressing catalogue" of events.

Mr and Mrs Bradford won last Friday's legal battle, overturning a ruling at Halifax County Court last year, where a judge said Mr James was the rightful land owner.

Both sides have run up huge legal bills in their bid to prove they are right – Mr James spent about 60,000 – his dead mother's life savings.

The total legal bills run up in the dispute will almost certainly run well into six figures.

At the hearing, Lord Mummery said: "The extreme acrimony between these neighbours is nothing new.

"Litigation nowadays is extremely expensive, even in county court proceedings, about a little strip of farmyard worth much less than the legal cost of fighting over it."

The hotly disputed plot came down to a "dog leg" in red line on a map.

The area is directly outside Mr and Mrs Bradford's barn conversion. They say that without access to it they cannot get to use their front door without trespassing on Mr James's land.

Mr James said the area was vital for him to have access to his farmland.

Mr James will have to pay the legal costs of the appeal hearing, but Lord Mummery said that "predictably" the neighbours were still rowing over who should pay the county court hearing costs.