Back by popular demand (and also timely from a personal standpoint) here is the Neighbourhood Support discussion on boundary fences:
"Disputes between neighbours over liability for the cost of a fence can end in resentment and make day-to-day life unpleasant. Some understanding of the law relating to these matters may help avoid problems that could damage neighbourly relations.
The Neighbourhood Support website provides excellent advice on this and other disputatious matters.
The Fencing Act 1978 provides a set of rules that govern financial obligations associated with a fence erected on a 'common boundary'. The simplest way to ensure contribution to the cost of building or repairing a fence is to get an agreement with your neighbour. To make sure there is no misunderstanding on the agreement, it may help to record it in writing and give both parties a signed copy.
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Where agreement is not possible, the Fencing Act requires that neighbours contribute equally to the cost of an 'adequate fence', provided the procedures contained in the Act are correctly followed.
In order to compel contribution, the neighbour wishing to work on a fence must first serve written 'notice' on their adjoining neighbour, specifying the proposed type of fence or nature of the repairs. This notice must contain an estimate of the likely cost and details on how and when the work will be done. It should also contain a statement that if the neighbour does not object to the proposal within 21 days, they will automatically become liable to contribute to half the estimated cost of the proposal. There is no liability to contribute until the the 21-day notice period has elapsed.
If there is an objection to the proposed work, this should be written down in a "cross notice" and given to the neighbour during the 21-day period. If this is done, there is no automatic obligation to contribute to the proposed work. Any cross-notice should state why there is an objection and can include a counter-proposal. The counter-proposal may, for example, vary the height or nature of the fence, or propose alternative approaches to construction. It is then up to the parties to come to some agreement over the proposed work.
Where agreement is impossible, the parties may refer the matter to the Disputes Tribunal for a decision. The decision of the Disputes Tribunal Referee in these matters has the same effect as an order from the Court."