How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask INC Law Your Own Question
INC Law
INC Law, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15947
Experience:  LL.B, LPC, LL.M, Pg.Dip, Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
12179604
Type Your Law Question Here...
INC Law is online now

I would like to know: Is there a way to acquire a legal

This answer was rated:

Hi there. I would like to know:
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Is there a way to acquire a legal easement over UNREGISTERED land, where we have tried and failed to find a potential owner? We are in the UK.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Looked at all adjoining properties on the land registry. Tried to see if adjacent properties or the original property developer could be found and identified as owners of the land.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't think so.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not sure what is shown on my original question, but what I am trying to find out is: "Is it possible to obtain a legal easement over unregistered land where no owner can be identified (or no owner wishes to register the land)."

Hi,

Thank you for query. How long has the easement been used?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We can't really prove any length of use at all.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In reality we have been walking over the path for a couple of years and were told that the previous owners did the same (although only verbally told). We want to start driving over it to access the rear of our property.

Hi,

You would be able to obtain an easement under the doctrine of prescription, however, this would require you to have exercised the right for at least 20 years. Otherwise, I am afraid unless it is an easement of necessity, I am of the opinion it would be tough to attain without continued use. therefore, keep using it until someone stops you or you make an application for the right. Whichever is the earlier.

I hope this answers your questions. If so, kindly rate the answer and provide feedback.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

many thanks,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for this. This is what I suspected. Could you just elaborate on the "until someone stops you". My understanding is that the only person who could (legally) stop us would be the legal owner, and in order to stop us they would need to register the land. Is this correct?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ergo - if nobody registers the land / can prove ownership, we should be ok to use it?

Hi,

Yes that is correct. Only the legal owner can prevent you from using the path.

I hope this answers your question. If so, kindly rate the answer and provide feedback.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Many thanks,

INC Law and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry just one follow up / clarification question:
Do they HAVE to register the land in order to show us they are the legal owner?i.e. if they find an old title deed but choose NOT to register the land (to precent the burden of maintenance, etc..) would this old deed be enough to stop us from using the lane or would they have to register the land to have the right to stop us using it?

Hi,

The old deed would be enough. Registration of the land would take place if there is some form of disposition.