Posted by: RM | May 29, 2009

The Law of Prescription

If ever proof were needed that not everything improves with age, one need look no further than the Prescription Act of 1832 to prove the point. A recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Housden v The Conservators of Wimbledon and Putney Commons illustrates this well. Lord Justice Carnwath’s comment at the end of his short judgment says it all:

At the highest from the appellant’s point of view, one is left with the position that, almost two centuries after the passing of the 1832 Act, there is no clear authority for the application of the section 2 in the way they propose, and a striking lack of consensus among the text-book writers.

It’s an interesting case about the acquisition of a prescriptive right of way over the common. The conflicting authorities on the proper interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the 1832 Act are addressed in some detail.


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