Lawlink: What can I do about items from schoolyard ending up in my back garden?

Photo: PAN XIAOZHEN/Unsplash

Q. My home backs onto a primary school. For many years I have had a problem with objects like balls, lunch boxes, jumpers, scissors, and the like, coming in over back wall. Over the years I have asked that they put up a net or make the wall higher. My home is the only home that is affected. I would like to know who is responsible should someone come into my garden to retrieve their property and injure themselves? Further, I am very concerned that some of the trees on the school grounds are dumping a lot of leaves into my back garden and may fall into my property. I have tried to complain to the Board of Management, but no positive action has been taken.

Dear Reader,

The potential liability that you may have with regard to any person who enters your property without your permission would be dealt with under the Occupiers Act. You must not be aware of, or reckless with regard to, there being a danger on your property. Your potential liability would also depend on whether another person was likely to be on your property without permission.

For example, if people often or occasionally come onto your property and a danger (for example a dangerous hole or cracked paving stone) is present on the land, and that you are aware of the same, and that you are aware that the danger might cause an injury, then you might well be liable.

However, if you take reasonable steps to secure your property from intruders, and do not allow and adequately ensure that dangers are not present on your property, it is unlikely that you would be found liable for any injuries sustained by any trespasser.

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I note that you state that a net would solve the issue, but the school is unwilling to provide the same. Have you given any consideration towards putting up such a net yourself?

With regard to the trees, you should remain in contact with the Board of Management of the school, who are the owners of the trees. If any of the branches of the offending tree are overhanging into your property, you are entitled to trim them back to the property line, but no more.

If you do so, every care should be taken to ensure that no inadvertent damage is done to the tree. You should consider consulting a professional tree surgeon.  You would be liable for any damage done to the tree, and these sums can be substantial.

Unfortunately, you remain entirely liable for any leaves that happen to fall onto your property – regardless of the origin of the leaves in question. The fall of leaves is considered a natural event and so the responsibility for leaves on your property is one entirely for you.