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BOUNDARIES AND EASEMENTS
By Colin Sara
THOMSON SWEET & MAXWELL
EASING THE TENSE BOUNDARIES OF LAW
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Colin Sara’s book is an excellent exposition of the law relating to boundaries and the current concepts of easements. And his frustrations with the subject (which we share) come out in his Preface concerning long judgments, unfixed boundaries and a procrastinating Law Commission.
Boundary rows are the bread and butter of many a county court case and we have always enjoyed teaching this part of the real property syllabus as the case law is great fun and of significant human interest in an otherwise dry subject.
The fourth edition of “Boundaries and Easements” is most welcome giving us, as practitioners and trainees, all the material we require to conduct an action involving easement claims or boundary disputes which are often lumped together.
What we liked about the way in which Sara has compiled this work was his belated acknowledgement of older precedents and the historic basis of easements using the clarity of many 19th century judgments where he can, even though he tends to use more modern ‘pronouncements’ which have the habit of being given chapter headings to help the structure of the judgments when they are reported. Sara has achieved a good balance with the old and the newer precedents.
The book has six parts: Boundaries; Easements; Remedies; Precedents; Statutes; and Statutory Instruments. The first three parts make up the meat of the subject with twenty four chapters covering all that is relevant for the practitioner and the undergraduate. Parts IV, V and VI contain the heavy detail concerning how to mount successful actions and their statutory bases. Readers will find that the top right hand corner of each page gives an instant tag for the subject under discussion which we found particularly helpful when using the detailed index and the table of cases looking for particular points.
Sara writes that he has more of ‘a sense of apprehension than joy’ when the client greets him with the words ‘I’ve got a boundary dispute’ which is much like the massive number of neighbour disputes which adorn the law of tort and give the law its human face. It is a bit like ‘I want my day in court’ which also makes the heart sink a bit!
When we first started teaching English Land Law, the biggest turn off for the learner was the legislation itself so we found the easements and covenants case law a great ice breaker whilst landlord and tenant just got emotional. Students should certainly read some of the comments by Sara on leading authorities because he brings over 35 years’ of practice to the subject and we do benefit from his knowledge.
THE ORIGINAL 17th CENTURY DVD CABINET
The secret to enjoying this subject, which is actually attractive and one of the least boring areas of land law because of the human involvement and history, is what can be uncovered with the parcels of land we have in these islands.
All the ‘easement suspects’ are here: Wheeldon v Burrows; the 1832 Prescription Act with its quaint English; and of course where would we be without that old fiction ‘lost modern grant’ at paragraph 15.12. Sara puts it beautifully when he says ‘it is not a rebuttable presumption but a fiction’ Ah! and the law doesn’t te