Penningtons Manches

UK 200 2014 position: 60

Real Estate Litigation Update — April 2014: rights to light — will they stop you developing?

By Donald Lambert

In these days of artificially lit commercial buildings, it seems anachronistic to many observers that historic rights to light can be used to prevent development. This is particularly so in an urban context involving commercial buildings, given that many rights to light are of little or no commercial value, while an attractive view, which may have value, has never been protected by the law.

A very recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Coventry and ors v Lawrence and ors [2014] EWCA Civ 26 handed down on 26 February 2014 may herald a welcome change of attitude.

Rights to light are a form of easement and are generally acquired by prescription, (20 years’ uninterrupted flow of light to a window). A substantial reduction in the light falling on the window is actionable. The court can grant damages and an injunction to restrain interference with the right to light…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Pennington Manches briefing.

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