A Japanese Knotweed appeal to watch….

The Court of Appeal is due to consider whether a claimant with a low value Japanese Knotweed damages claim should exhaust Alternative Dispute Resolution and internal complaints before they start litigation. 

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council are defending a number of Japanese Knotweed claims in the County Court brought by Claimant’s for an alleged nuisance caused by the knotweed from council-owned land. The Council’s position is that the claims have been issued prior to the parties engaging in Alternative Dispute Resolution and as a result, are placing a strain on its already stretched financial resources. 

The matter is set to come before the Court of Appeal where Counsel for the Local Authority will argue that any Claimant “making relatively low value claims against public authorities should be required to exhaust any internal complaints process before they engage in litigation, including following any relevant Pre-Action Protocol”.  Further although the case relates to Japanese Knotweed, the same principle can be applied for all claims brought against publicly funded organisations. 

In allowing the appeal to be considered, Lady Justice Andrews raised concerns in relation to access for justice and described the issue in the case as one which relates to “…whether a Claimant who unreasonably refuses to engage in ADR in breach of requirements of the Practice Directions …. can be precluded from bringing or advancing a claim in Court”. 

The Court of Appeal will clearly have to consider Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust [2004] EWCA Civ 576 in which it was concluded that, “if the parties (or at least one of them) remain intransigently opposed to ADR, then it would be wrong for the court to compel them to embrace it”.   

The outcome of the appeal will be an important decision for both Claimant’s and Defendant’s when considering the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution prior to issuing.  It is certainly one to watch by anyone who also deals with Housing Condition Cases. 

If you have any questions about Alternative Dispute Resolution, please contact Thomas Stockton Senior Associate Solicitor at MSB here: thomasstockton@msbsolicitors.co.uk. 


Law is correct as at 8th February 2023 


Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure that the law in this article is correct, it is intended to give a general overview of the law for educational purposes. You are respectfully reminded that it is not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No liability is accepted for any error or omission contained herein. 

Contact us, we are here to help

If you have any questions, please contact Senior Associate Solicitor, Tom Stockton, who would be happy to assist you: thomasstockton@msbsolicitors.co.uk