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Copeland v Greenhalf [1952] Ch 488, ChD

Property law - Easement - Claim of Prescriptive right - Whether such right an easement of law

Facts:

Copeland owned an orchard and adjoining house. Access to the orchard from the road was via a strip of land, about 150 foot long. Copeland brought action against his neighbour, who owned the property against the road and parked on the strip of land. Greenhalf claimed he had a prescriptive right to do so through a lost grant.

Issues:
Whether an easement existed which Greenhalf was entitled to, allowing him to park his car over the strip.

Held:

Greenhalf’s claim was mainly based on the fact his family had been using the strip for generations. It was found that this did not constitute a legal right of way. His claim was too extensive to constitute an easement in law, as it amounted to a claim only to the benefit of the user of the land, as parking a car there largely blocked the access to the orchard. The arrangement went wholly outside any ordinary definition of an easement, usually being the owner or the occupier of a dominant tenement over a servient tenement. By parking vehicles on the strip for any length of time he pleased, coming and going as he wished with his contractors etc, it was found not to be a valid claim to establish an easement. Conduct that was tolerated to some degree, did not create a lost grant in circumstances where the land was being blocked, causing an inconvenience to the owner of the land.


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