Acquiring a prescriptive right over another’s land.

A right over another’s land is a form of easement and a method of acquiring an easement over another’s land is by prescription.  There are three methods of acquiring a prescriptive right:-

1.       Common law prescription;

2.       Doctrine of lost modern grant;

3.       Under the Prescription Act 1832.

Common law prescription

There is little use of the ability to acquire a right by common law prescription however, it arises where there has been continuous use of the right, it has been done without permission or secrecy and without force since 1189.

Doctrine of lost modern grant

A prescriptive right can be claimed under the doctrine of lost modern grant if a person can show that the right has been exercised for a period of at least 20 years since 1189. If this can be shown, it will be presumed that the right was created under a deed and that deed was lost. A right can still be claimed even if the use of the right was interrupted after the 20 years was gained.

Prescription Act 1832

A right can be claimed by prescription under the Prescription Act 1832 if there has been continuous use of the right for a minimum period of 20 years and the use has been without permission, secrecy or force.  The prescriptive right will only form once action is taken to register the right at the end of the 20 year period.

Claiming a prescriptive right is often a difficult claim to bring and therefore it is recommended that legal advice is sought prior to making an application- the above information acts as a guide only.  Advice will need to be considered in line with your individual situation.

AWB Charlesworth can give such advice on the formalities of making a claim for a prescriptive easement. If you require advice please contact

Keighley Solicitor David Tear (Head of Litigation and Director) on Tel: 01535 613678 or by email: