A Procedural Roadmap for Easement Claims

Published by the Property Law Journal at PLJ 2020, 381, 33-42

Easement disputes are a staple of real property practice.  Some can be of very high value, particularly where the existence of an easement has an impact on a development.  Many, however, arise out of neighbour disputes.  Despite having a more modest value, these claims are no less important to the parties involved and indeed can be no less complex.  As with all neighbour disputes, costs have a tendency to spiral.

It is therefore important to have a firm grip on how an easement claim is going to progress. This can be difficult because often these claims can be very urgent.

Easement disputes between neighbours often focus on what in the Midlands we call jitties.  Everyone else just calls them alleyways or paths.  What follows is a typical example.  I have broken down the procedure into rigorously practical steps.  I am not going to go into the law on prescriptive easements in this note.

Most of these procedural steps are judgment calls.  There is seldom a right or wrong answer, and even less common can you find the answer in a book.  The steer will come from your own experience, practices of your local court and confidence in dealing with procedural challenges.

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