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Boundary Dispute Notes

BPTC Law Notes > Property and Chancery Notes

This is an extract of our Boundary Dispute document, which we sell as part of our Property and Chancery Notes collection written by the top tier of City Law School students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Property and Chancery Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

BOUNDARY DISPUTE PRINCIPLES................................................................................................................................................. 1 RULES.......................................................................................................................................................... 2 General boundaries rule.............................................................................................................. 2 Title deeds................................................................................................................................ 2 Title plan................................................................................................................................... 2 Where is the boundary line?......................................................................................................... 3 'For identification only'................................................................................................................. 3 'More particularly delineated'........................................................................................................ 3 'Delineated'............................................................................................................................... 3 Both forms of words.................................................................................................................... 3 No words.................................................................................................................................. 4 'T marks'................................................................................................................................... 4 Extrinsic evidence...................................................................................................................... 5 PRESUMPTION............................................................................................................................................ 7 'Hedge and ditch' presumption..................................................................................................... 9 Boundary agreements................................................................................................................. 9 Determination by registrar.......................................................................................................... 10 How does a court decide?......................................................................................................... 10

PRINCIPLES?

A boundary separates the land owned by one person from their neighbour. A general boundary is an imaginary line dividing one person's property from another. It is rarelyidentified with precision on the ground or in documents. Section 60 of the Land Registration Act 2002 provides: 1

the boundary of a registered estate shown for the purposes of the title register is a general boundary, unless shown as determined under this section, and

2 a general boundary does not determine the exact line of the boundary

1 BOUNDARY DISPUTE RULES General boundaries ruleAll boundaries shown on title plans that are produced by the Land Registry are subject to the generalboundaries rule. This rule means that the precise line of a boundary is undetermined by the Land Registry unless an application is made for it to be fixed. In Drake, it was emphasised that the boundary line on a title plan isjust a general boundary and cannot show the precise boundary between two properties. In Lee, the contract plan and the transfer plan showed a plot of land with irregular boundaries and these had been marked out on the site by pegs. The Land Registry title plan showed a plot with regular boundaries. The defendant built his house based on the title plan and the claimant brought an action for trespass. The claimant was entitled to seek relief. It was held that the general boundaries rule is confined to the effect of the title plan only. It does not allow the registrar or the court to alter the effect of a transfer plan, which represents the contractual bargain between the parties.

Title deedsTitle deeds constitute the primary evidence and the boundaries indicated in them prevail if they areclear and unambiguous. The starting point is the parcels clause in the conveyance. Generally, where a deed describes the boundaries by reference to known physical and natural objectsand also contains a statement of area, the former takes precedence in case of discrepancy. If reference is made to a physical object not yet in existence but subsequently erected to conform with the deed, that physical boundary is binding upon them, even if it differs from the boundary line or area in the deed. [Alan Wibberley Building v Insley [1999] 2 All ER 897]

Title planA title plan is based on Ordnance Survey mapping and shows: 1

the ordnance survey map used to prepare the title plan

2 the north point

3 any building, walls fences or hedges represented by a black line

4 the general boundary of the land indicted by a red line

5 (sometimes) measurements that have been taken from deeds when the land was registered/agreement reached by way of a deed that has been used to update the register

If a plan is taken from an ordnance survey map the boundary line is taken to be the centre line of any boundary feature eg a hedge.

2 BOUNDARY DISPUTE Where is the boundary line?The description in the title deeds should be sufficient to allow the extent of the property to be determined, but there may be discrepancies between the description used in the document and theplan. If the exact boundary needs to be established, it will almost always need to be supplemented by inferences that can be drawn from topographical features that existed when the documents were entered into.

'For identification only'A plan stated to be 'for the purposes of identification only' does not define precise or exact boundaries.It does not override the verbal description. If the conveyance specifies that a particular acreage is to be transferred, but the land within the boundaries on the plan is less, the acreage takes precedence. However, this does not prevent the courtusing the plan to assist in understanding the description, provided it does not contradict or control it. In Brown, the Court of Appeal made it clear that a plan attached to a contract and transfer for identification purposes only does not necessarily take precedence over other extrinsic evidence as tothe true boundary. Where registration is required, Land Registry practice is that plans described as for the purposes of identification only will be rejected.

'More particularly delineated'Where land is referred to as being 'more particularly delineated' on the plan, this tends to show that the plan is to take precedence in the case of uncertainty.

'Delineated'In Network Rail, a lease stated that the premises were 'delineated' on the plan. The High Court confirmed that 'delineated' should bear its dictionary meaning, namely that it showed the outline of the demised premises. Therefore, the lease wording indicated that the plan was intended to define the boundaries.

Both forms of wordsIn Avon, the High Court confirmed where both forms of words are used, 'the draughtsman has achieved neither one thing nor the other and the two expressions may be said to be 'mutually stultifying''. The issue of which is to be given priority is of importance where there is some apparent inconsistency between the parcels clause and the plan. In Avon there was no such inconsistency. 3

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