Previous: Proprietary estoppel

An easement is a right granted over one piece of land for the benefit of another piece of land. The prime example is that of the right of way: I may allow you to use a path passing over my land to access your land. This is an example of a positive easement: you are being granted a positive right to use my land to access yours. Negative easements also exist, but it may be considered that restrictive covenants are better suited to prohibiting certain uses of land.

Requirements

Dominant and servient land

Firstly, an easement must be granted over land which ‘serves’ another piece of land. The ‘benefiting’ land is known as the dominant land, and the ‘serving’ land is known as the servient land.

Accommodation of dominant land

The easement must accommodate the dominant land. If an easement serves to benefit a business placed on land, and not the land itself, as in Hill v Tupper (1863), it will not be classed as an easement. But if an easement will benefit future owners of that land, or a business as a result of it being for the benefit of land, it will be classed as an easement, according to Moody v Steggles (1879) and Platt v Crouch [2003] respectively. According to Re Ellenborough Park [1956], just because the value of dominant land is increased by a right does not make that right an easement...

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