Drawing the Line: boundary dispute decision provides reminder of key principles

Paddock canva - 280524

David Nicholls has successfully represented the Respondents to an application under section 60 of the Land Registration Act 2002 to determine a boundary.

The boundary in question divided two paddocks. The title plans showed the boundary following a wiggly line, which on the ground appeared reflective of the fence line of the paddocks. However, the Applicant contended that the boundary was in fact a straight line. She argued this was so because it was a continuation of another boundary line that had already been determined to be a straight line. She also relied on the transfer plan, which clearly showed the boundary between the paddocks as a straight line.

The Judge disagreed. The starting point was the correct construction of the original transfer. However, there was no material in the transfer itself to support the Applicant’s case; and the scale of the transfer plan was too small to be of any material assistance. When considering what the ‘reasonable purchaser’ would have thought he was acquiring at the time of the original transfer, a consideration of the transfer plan coupled with the physical features on the ground (i.e. the paddock fencing) would have demonstrated that the boundary shown on the transfer plan was intended to depict the long-established physical fence boundary.

A copy of the decision may be accessed here

This case is a useful reminder of the legal principles that apply to boundary disputes generally; and also the particular principles that apply to boundary determinations.

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