Sun | Dec 3, 2023

HELP: My land surveyor is not carrying out my instructions! (Part 1)

Published:Friday | June 12, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Craig Francis

Good day, readers. This week we will respond to another question from one of our readers.

Good day, Mr Francis,

I need some help and advice. I hired a land surveyor to survey a piece of land that my grandfather died and left for me. There is a walkway that people have been using from before I born on a section of my grandfather's land. I have heard that it has been in use from in the 1940s. However, I told your colleague that I don't want it there anymore as I don't want anyone walking on my property and he refused to do what I asked. He told me that he couldn't survey the property so that I could fence out the users of the walkway even though it is now my property and I hired him so he is to follow my instructions. He had done three-quarters of the property but then we had the disagreement and I told him if he is not going to do it my way he is to leave my property.

Mr Francis, I want to know why he wasn't carrying out my wishes and I am the one who hired him, and why I can't stop the people from using this 'pass' even though it's on my land. Also, sir, the surveyor refused to give me a refund of the money I already deposited even though he hasn't completed the task.



- D.C.

Thanks for writing to A Matter of Land, D.C. I hope I can help you to fully understand the situation and hopefully bring further clarity to the matter. First, let me address the notion you have that because the commissioned land surveyor is contracted by you he has to carry out all your wishes.

Let me tell you emphatically that this is not so. The commissioned land surveyor is an ex officio officer of the courts of Jamaica and, as such, has to not just be guided by the instructions of his client but also what is morally and legally correct.

The land surveyor also has a fiduciary duty to the country and its statutes to always do what is correct even if the client tries to instruct him/her otherwise.

If he or she believes that an instruction will cause a breach in the law or infringe on the legal rights of others, it is the land surveyor's duty to advise you of same and offer an alternative solution.

So the fact that you wanted him to survey your boundary in a manner to restrict persons from using an established means of access means if, in his judgement, doing so was not in keeping with the relevant laws that would govern this action he was well within his right, as a commissioned land surveyor, not to do this.

Space will not permit me to address the other issues now so next week I will continue with my response.

Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time, traverse well.

- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Service