Amateur Historical Research Is No Replacement for Legal Advice

Amateur Historical Research Is No Replacement for Legal Advice

Land boundaries are sometimes difficult to establish and while looking at historical documents is interesting it might take you down the wrong path. You need to seek the advice of professionals to check your right of way over a neighbour’s property as the homeowner discovered in the following case.

The man claimed he had a right of way on a piece of land that was used by his neighbor to get to the back of his home, and on that basis he lodged a claim with the Land Registry. Using old records, he claimed that for in excess of 170 years the land had been merely wasteland, it wasn’t fenced in and was uncultivated, therefore it was common land, and the document dated 1864 deemed it to be ‘common piece of manorial origin’.

The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) acknowledged all the effort the man had gone to in his research but found that he had misconstrued the situation, his neighbour was in possession of the title deeds to the land as a matter of fact. Further, had the old document applied, the rights of way would fall to the Lord of the Manor and not the complainant. The caution was ordered to be removed and the FTT were considering an award of costs of £9,741 against him, this will be considered at a later date.

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