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Re Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England's Conveyance [1936] Ch. 430

Property law – Restrictive covenant running with land

Facts

The Ecclesiastical Commission, who was charged with the responsibility to distribute the incomes for the Church of England, sold land to a purchaser with the inclusion of a number of restrictive covenants which restricted the purchaser, and all owners and tenants in the future, from causing nuisance by building on the land that was being sold. The purchasers of the land, on the estate, requested a declaration that the covenants no longer applied after the conveyance of the property, and, if they did happen to exist, they requested clarification as to who would be able to enforce them. The Ecclesiastical Commission had also sold parts of the land to other individuals with similar covenants and these individuals were included in the respondents.

Issue

The court had already established in this case that there was no building scheme affecting the property. On this basis, the court was required to understand whether the covenants, that were included in the conveyance of the property, still applied to the purchasers of the land. This required particular consideration of the term ‘adjoining’ in relation to the estate as well as a wider consideration of the construction of the covenant. 

Held

The court found that on the construction of the covenant, the ‘adjacent’ land included plots that were not connected the property or land in question and on this basis, the respondents that purchased the property from the Ecclesiastical Commission had the ability to enforce the restrictive covenants against the purchaser of the property. This was despite the fact that they were not parties to the original conveyance which took place in 1887.


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