Dr Tang Hong-wai Conrad, Associate Professor, Department of Land Survey and Geo-Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
A common law judge interprets the parcels clauses and plans in a conveyance to ascertain land boundaries. Usually there are uncertainties and contradictions in old transaction documents. In many cases subsequent survey results may not be accepted as a definitive land boundary record of the original grant documents. Some judges may lay out principles of accepting land boundary extrinsic evidence which are important to land surveying practices. Others may just accept expert witness of either party for the sake of settling disputes.
Although most cases are not boundary-truth finding, there are judges who have set ratio decidendi in boundary determination. From over a hundred known court cases related to boundary disputes, including two cases reaching the Final Appeal Court, a presentation of about ten of them with plans and photos will be discussed.
In addition, it is a recent trend in our courts that alternative dispute resolutions should be sought before trial, which may have significant impacts on the land surveying professional practice. Land surveying expert role on boundary disputes in common law courts will be discussed