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Justice with Jacobs column; I'm lopping mad over neighbour's conifers.

QABOUT two years ago our neighbour planted Leylandi trees along our dividing fence.

These are now 15ft high and are shading our patio area.

I recall reading that the Government was going to bring in legislation to limit the height of these trees. Did they do this?

We have not yet asked our neighbour to prune the trees, but I am not expecting a favourable response. If you could pre-arm me I would appreciate it.

N Marenghi, Cardiff

ATHE law has not yet been changed. But it may be you can take your neighbour to court to lop the trees if they are removing your right to light.

If the trees were to overhang your land and needed lopping - but you were unable to do this without going on your neighbour's land - you can apply to the court for an order giving you permission to enter the next door garden to do the work. This would prevent you being accused of trespass, but it takes a pretty mean neighbour to put you in this position.

Love thy neighbour does not mean you have to love their trees.

QWE ARE having problems where we live with noise nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

We have complained to the council but somebody there has told the individuals concerned, causing us more aggravation. Surely if you complain it should be confidential?

Name and address supplied

A YOU are right, but if action is to be taken it may be obvious who is complaining. Take this up with your councillor. If you continue to be harassed you can use the new harassment law to get the offenders prosecuted. Go to the police.


QWHY are members of a jury, who are there to decide between guilt and innocence, often not allowed to do this because the judge instructs them as to their verdict?

Also, are they allowed to disagree and reverse the verdict?

Don West, Northants

AONE of the first things a judge says to a jury in a criminal trial is that they have to accept his or her word on the law, and make up their own minds on the facts.

Thus, if there is no offence committed as a matter of law, the jury will be told to - and must - declare the defendant not guilty.

There would be no justice if the jury ignored the law and convicted the innocent.

The judge is there to prevent that happening.

If you were on a jury where this happened, you are forbidden to discuss the jury's deliberations even if they thought the judge was bonkers, which they occasionally are, in my experience.

I signed up to a con-tract

QI WANTED to sell my house quickly, so I answered an ad in a paper. A fellow came round and he took me for a ride, for pounds 195. He gave me a contract and said if the house was not sold within 10 weeks I could get my money back. It seemed all right at the time, but the phone numbers he gave me were not available.

At first I was annoyed at myself for being taken in so easily, but now it is making me depressed. He must still be doing it to other people, or should I say fools like me. I am sending you the contract. Please destroy it.

Mrs H Leigh, Lancs

AYOU were not a fool, just very gullible. This is the first time I have seen this scam, and I advise you to go to the police to report this as a potential fraud.

I do not believe you read the document or understood it. It is a contract where he says he has given you pounds 5, for which he has the option to buy your house for pounds 30,195. He can demand that you sell it to him at any time during the 12 months after signa-ture, from March 1999.

He will have to register this to prevent anyone else buying directly from you, but even if he did not he could sue you for the difference in the price if you sold for a greater sum.


He has also reserved the right to sell on for any price to anyone, and you would be compelled to sell direct to his buyer and pay him the difference in price. He can even transfer the option to anyone he chooses.

On the back of the contract, he has agreed to advertise the house and has charged you pounds 195. This is now lost.

I believe that if he has been doing this to people and not genuinely advertising your property for sale, he is a fraudster obtaining money by deception, and he has to be stopped.

Never, never, never sell other than through a recognised estate agent, solicitor or licensed conveyancer, and never, never, never sign a legal document at the door.

I need you to send me the details of the ad so I can follow up with the paper concerned to trace him.

On reflection, maybe you were right when you described yourself as a fool. You won't be a second time, though, will you?

QI THOUGHT you might like to read a pile of letters I have received from clairvoyants on a regular basis.

I just wonder if any of your readers get the same rubbish on a monthly mail shot?

AS Ayton, Eastbourne

AI RECEIVE hundreds of letters every year from readers who believe they are about to be ripped off by responding to junk mail, and my advice is always the same.

If someone is offering you something beyond your wildest dreams, you have to be nuts to believe them.

As most people are barmy, they know they will convince some of us to part with our hard-earned cash.

You are only conned if you respond by sending off a payment.

It is up to you what you do, but don't be surprised if you do not receive the thousands of pounds they promise or if you do not meet the partner of your dreams.

If any reader has been the recipient of good fortune in response to this trash will they please let me know and I promise that I will eat my words publicly.

Your clairvoyants may be genuine. Who am I to say they are not?

I don't believe in any of this superstitious mumbo-jumbo, touch wood.

I once picked up a female hitchhiker who said she had magic powers.

When I asked her to prove it, she said she could sense I was low on petrol - and I turned into a garage.

A lack of will power

QMY WIFE and I had wills prepared in 1990 by Family Wills Limited of Edgware, Middlesex.

The wills were bound together and the company kept copies. I tried to contact them in 1992 but their number was unobtainable.

I then consulted a solicitor who assured me the wills were all right but, on his advice, we made codicils removing the company as executors and replacing them with our son.

I wrote to Family Wills Limited but the letter was returned by the post office.

My wife passed away in July 1999 and I wrote to the company's registered office to ask for the copies they had in storage but again my letter was returned.

I am worried whether the probate people will accept a photocopy of the original bound will.

Stanley Dean Bicester, Oxon

AIF THE people who prepared your wills can no longer be contacted and the originals cannot be found, a copy can be accepted.

But the copy will have to be accompanied by affidavit evidence that the will in question was the current one at the time of death. You can provide such evidence.

Ask the solicitor who prepared the codicils to act for your son, and stop worrying.

I suggest that people never use a will company as executor.

There is no legal check on their charges, which is the case when a solicitor is used, and when they go out of business, as may have happened here, you add to the burden of whoever is to take on the executorship.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Jacobs, Gary
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 30, 1999
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