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Bridle v Ruby [1989] QB 169, CA

Property Law - Easement - Right of Way - Grant - Access to garage over adjoining land

Facts:

A company built houses and later sold number 12. The original transfer reserved the transferor and the successors a right of way (including with vehicles) over the driveway of the property, but this was then deleted out of the conveyance as agreed by the parties. The same events occurred when number 13 was transferred. The owner of number 13 built a garage that was only accessible by using number 12’s driveway, mistakenly believing the conveyance allowed them to do so. Ruby (the new owner of number 13) then denied that Bridle (the new owner of number 12) had a right to access the driveway over their property and bought action requesting a restraining injunction.

Issues:

Whether there was a presumption of a lost modern grant.

Held:

The appeal was dismissed. A lost modern grant requires uninterrupted use to be proven to have occurred consistently for 20 years. The mistaken belief of Ruby, the successors of the original title, did not prevent them from determining a right by prescription. They had used the access for 22 years. The mistaken belief of a right to use the driveway did not provide justification for a presumption of a lost modern grant and so one could not be granted. The previous owners having assumed that one was granted did not result in one being actually granted under law. Thus, Ruby was unable to continue using the driveway.


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