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Flooding Hit Funeral Business Wins Right to Compensation

Flooding can cause devastating damage to homes and businesses and, if blame lies with your neighbours, the law will ensure that you are compensated. One case on point involved a funeral business that endured a series of deluges over a six-year period after water diversion works were carried out on adjoining land.

The owners of the business had noticed that the flooding problem on their land had dramatically worsened between 2009 and 2015 and argued that their neighbours’ diversion of a water course that crossed their land was responsible. The neighbours, however, insisted that there had been no significant change in the frequency or severity of flooding before and after the works were carried out.

In upholding the owners’ claim, a judge preferred expert engineering evidence given on their behalf as to the mechanism of the flooding. He also noted evidence that, when the diversion works were reversed in 2015, the floods had receded. A serious flooding incident in 2016 had probably been caused by unusually high rainfall.

The facts of the case emerged as the High Court rejected the neighbours’ appeal against the judge’s ruling, which was primarily based on findings of fact that could not be successfully impugned. The amount of compensation payable to the owners, and to a sole trader who manufactured memorial stones on part of their land, remained to be assessed.

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