A trivial argument about a wheelie bin has landed IT consultant father-of-two Liaquat Ali a £15,733 bill from the High Court. His 'mad' argument about whether his wheelie bin blocked a shared driveway could see Ali remortgage his property to pay his court costs.
How can a row over a 240-litre bin really result in such fees?
Semi-detached row"It's really unbelievable," he told the BBC. "It's absurd... over a wheelie bin? It's a small 240 litre wheelie bin which people use all over the country. This is something I could never have dreamt of in my wildest dreams."
It's even more remarkable given that there has been no financial loss to either party. Back in 2011 Ali's neighbour, Iqbal Suleman, wanted Ali to agree that both would not place any bins on the shared drive between their semi-detached properties on Brook Avenue, Edgware, North West London.
Barnet County Court subsequently agreed. But Suleman's solicitor then asked for court costs of £36,000 to be paid by Ali. Horrified, Ali said the costs were excessive and the court costs were cut to £15,733. Still a huge fee for a row about a bin.
14 days to payHowever, Suleman's lawyer, Lyons Davidson, says the issue was never about wheelie bins but right of way. "Our clients," he told the Times, "have been through the legal process and Mr Ali agreed to pay our clients costs which were finalised yesterday and the matter is now concluded."
Ali has 14 days to pay. Last year a row over a garden path saw Judge Gordon Risius tell pensioner Keith Quartermain that, after repeatedly breaching a restraining order, his only option would be to jail him - or order him to sell his house.
"It will be in everyone's best interests if you were to move elsewhere and were I to sentence you to prison today it would probably interfere with a sale," Risius told Quartermain at Oxford Crown Court, the Mail reported.
Sentencing was deferred in the hope Quartermain would sell and move on.