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Land Law

These principles are found in the law of licences and the doctrine of proprietary estoppel. I. Remedies Prior to 1990 Prior to 1990 the law appeared to take two opposing positions relative to the extent to which licences created interests in land. The original position was stated in the early case of Thomas v Sorrell. In this case Lord Vaughan ruled that with respect to a licence, it neither passed nor modified “or transfers property in anything.”1 In other words, a licence merely functions to create a personal interest relative to the parties to the licence and as such does not operate to create an interest in land. The effect therefore is that the licence cannot be enforced against a third party. This principle of law prevailed and was indorsed by the House of Lords in King v David Allen and Sons, Billposting. In this case the House of Lords pointed held that a licence did not create a proprietary interest in land and as such could not function to be enforceable against a third party.2 Dixon explains however, that this unequivocal approach to licences was incapable of application across a board spectrum of circumstances. The fact is, licences could be put to use for any number of circumstances and could in some circumstances create interest in the land to which it applied.3 For instance, academics and legal scholars alike questioned whether or not it was unfair to oust an occupant under a licence from the property to which the licence applied, when the property changed hands.4 Lord Denning MR considered the circumstances in which it was inappropriate to classify an arrangement as a licence in the case of Errington v Errington. In this case Lord Denning MR departed from the orthodox position that a licence did not create a proprietary interest in land and could not bind third parties. In this case, the licence conferred on the plaintiff was determined to be binding on a wife how had inherited the property under a will. Her husband had granted the licence to the plaintiff. Lord Denning reasoned that the licensee was at liberty to enforce the licence against the licensor for the period of the licence and there was no reason why that right could not be continued against third parties in “appropriate circumstances”.5 Appropriate circumstances would be situations in which the licensee, pursuant to the licence acted in ways that were “supported by an equity” as this would confer upon the licence a degree of proprietary interest. Moreover, an equity would be sustainable in circumstances where it would be unconscionable to ignore the rights created by the licence.6 Lord Dennings ruling and reasoning can be found in subsequent cases. For example in Crabb v Arun DC [1976] if was held if the court finds that an equity exists, it will ensure that the parties abide by the licence to the extent that it reflects the relevant facts and circumstances of the case.7 Lord Denning explained that: Short of an actual promise, if he by his words or conduct, so behaves as to lead another to believe that he will not insist on his strict legal rights – knowing or intending that the other will act on that belief – and he does so act, that again will raise an equity in favour of the other, and it is for a court of equity to say in what way the equity may be satisfied.8 The acquisition of an equity under a licence was further explained in Taylor Fashions v Liverpool Trustees. I this case it was held that ...Show more


Land Law Essay Introduction In order to determine Noddy’s remedies against Toy Town Motors Ltd. and Bigears it is necessary to first define the type of interest that the arrangement with Bigear created. In other words, the main question is whether or not permission or the licence to use Redcap created a personal interest or a proprietary interest in the land…
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Land Law essay example
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