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Case decides in landowner's favour regarding common land

May 2016

Is it possible to register new rights of common over land already registered as common land? "No" says Court of Appeal

The case of Littlejohns and another v Devon County Council and another is important to owners of common land and anybody attempting to exercise unregistered rights of common over common land.

Facts

The Littlejohn family had grazed sheep and cattle on common land adjacent to their farms in Devon for decades.

The common land was registered under the scheme introduced by the Commons Registration Act 1965 (CRA 1965).

The Littlejohns failed to register their rights of common by the July 1970 deadline under that Act. However, they continued to use the land and in 2010, they applied to register rights of common by prescription based on usage since 1970.

Devon County Council refused to register the rights, on the basis that a right of common could not be created by prescription over land that had been registered as common land under the CRA 1965. The Littlejohns applied for judicial review of the Council's decision. The High Court and now the Court of Appeal agreed with the Council's view resulting in this decision.

Comment

The case is helpful to Commoners Associations, landowners and sporting operators wishing to restrict grazing levels.

Case report: Littlejohns and another v Devon County Council and another [2016] EWCA Civ 446

 

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Jonathan Attey on 0113 204 5738.

The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors

 

May 2016

Jonathan Attey View Biography

Jonathan Attey

Partner
Leeds

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