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Pugh v Savage [1970] 2 QB 373, CA

Property Law - Easement - Right of Way - Tenancy of Servient Tenement

Facts:

Pugh was the owner of a farm which included field A. Field A was accessed from the highway along a lane, into a field and across that field into field B. The path also crossed from field A to field C. Fields B and C were leased to Savage. Savage was informed upon taking the lease, that he was entitled to a private right of way over field A, along the lane to the highway. Pugh denied the private right of way for vehicles to gain access to field B and C. One day, Pugh accidentally obstructed the pathway with hedge trimmings. Savage crossed field A to gain access to field B. Pugh sought an injunction and damages for trespass.

Issues:

Whether the initial right of way granted continued when Savage leased the land.

Held:

There was evidence that initially, the owner of field C had the dominant tenement and was able to pass over field B to reach field A, the servient tenement. The original owner of field B had consented to this at the time so there were grounds to establish a right of way. Thus, when Savage became a tenant of the land where there was evidence of a right of way, even if Pugh had no knowledge of the fact Savage was in possession, the grant of the tenancy would not ruin the presumption of a grant or grounds for a claim under the Prescription Act 1832. It would be unreasonable to imply a lost grant by the owner of the servient tenement at the beginning of Savage’s use. The appeal was dismissed and Savage was entitled to a right of way over the land.


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