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Paul Wilmshurst Successful in Upper Tribunal Before Chamber President

June 17, 2024 | Cases
Paul Wilmshurst Successful in Upper Tribunal Before Chamber President

Nicholson & Anor v Hale & Anor (Land Registration – Easements – claim to the acquisition of a right of way by prescription) [2024] UKUT 153 (LC) (14 June 2024)

Paul Wilmshurst, representing the Appellants, has achieved a significant victory in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) regarding a contentious right of way case in Nottingham. The Tribunal, presided over by the Chamber President Mr. Justice Edwin Johnson, overturned the First-tier Tribunal’s decision, reaffirming the importance of clear signage in property law. The case will be of interest to all practitioners dealing with rights of way.

The case involved a disputed right of way over a property in central Nottingham. The Respondents, owners of a neighbouring property, claimed a prescriptive right of way across a courtyard and up a flight of stairs. The claim was made under the doctrine of lost modern grant. However, the Appellants, represented by Paul Wilmshurst, argued that the signage on the property effectively communicated that no public right of way existed, thus preventing the acquisition of such a right. The sign read:

“THIS STAIRCASE AND FORECOURT

IS PRIVATE PROPERTY

NO PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY”

The Chamber President described the case as raising an “interesting question on the nature and terms of signage which are required in order to prevent the acquisition of a right of way by prescription.” The Upper Tribunal agreed that the wording of this sign, in context, was contentious and meant that user was not as of right. The decision of the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal was therefore reversed.

Paul Wilmshurst is ranked as a leading property barrister whose practice embraces the full range of property litigation between individuals and businesses, including issues with an administrative law aspect. This is one of a number of High Court level decisions that Paul in which Paul has appeared in during the last 12 months.

Read the decision

Practice areas: Property
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