Alan Wibberley Building Ltd v Insley: CA 12 Nov 1997

Where adjoining fields are separated by a hedge and a ditch, who owns the ditch?
Held: The old presumption as to the location of a boundary based on the layout of hedges and ditches is irrelevant where the conveyance was by reference to an OS plan. The Ordnance Survey does not fix private boundaries. The purpose of the survey is topographical, not taxative. Even the most detailed Ordnance Survey map may not show every feature on the ground which can be used to identify the extent of the owner’s land.
Judge LJ (dissenting) said of the hedge and ditch rule: ‘I can see no basis for trivialising this principle. In large areas of the countryside it is well understood and has indeed ensured that those with a boundary formed by a hedge and ditch know exactly where they stand without recourse to legal advice or litigation.’
Lord Justice Simon Brown, Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Judge
Times 24-Nov-1997, Gazette 26-Nov-1997, [1997] EWCA Civ 2698, [1998] 1 WLR 881, [1998] 2 All ER 82
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedNeilson v Poole ChD 1969
Significance of Boundary agreement
The parties, neighbours, disputed the boundary between their gardens. In a conveyance of land where the plan is stated to be for identification purposes only, the effect of those words: ‘Seems . . to confine the use of the plan to ascertaining where . .
CitedDavey v Harrow Corporation CA 1957
The Plaintiff’s house was damaged by roots penetrating from trees on adjoining land. At first instance, Sellers J found that the damage was caused by the trees, but they were not proven to be the property of the defendants. On appeal and after . .
Not followedFisher v Winch CA 1939
The land of both parties had been in common ownership. The first plot to be conveyed was sold by a conveyance which set out by reference to the numbers on an Ordnance map the different parcels with their description and acreage. The second . .
CitedCollis v Amphlett CA 1918
‘There is undoubtedly a popular belief in some parts of the country which has found its way into books that the owner of a hedge is also the owner of a space outside it; sometimes said to be four feet from the base of the bank on which the hedge . .
CitedThe Earl of Craven v Pridmore and others CA 1902
The well established presumption that the boundary of plots of land separated by a hedge and ditch, that the boundary is the hedge on the far side of the ditch is a rebuttable presumption. The question was ‘how far the presumption had been displaced . .
CitedVowles v Miller 9-Jul-1810
Lawrence J said: ‘The rule about ditching is this. No man, making a ditch, can cut into his neighbour’s soil, but usually he cuts it to the very extremity of his own land: he is of course bound to throw the soil which he digs out, upon his own land; . .
CitedPrenn v Simmonds HL 1971
Backgroun Used to Construe Commercial Contract
Commercial contracts are to be construed in the light of all the background information which could reasonably have been expected to have been available to the parties in order to ascertain what would objectively have been understood to be their . .
CitedTaylor v Needham CCP 10-Feb-1810
If the Plaintiff in covenant assigns as a breach, that the Defendant did not repair, a plea that the Defendant did not break his covenant is bad on special demurrer. Although the declaration concludes by averring that so the defendant hath broken . .
CitedHall v Dorling and Another 26-Mar-1996
Land once conveyed by the owner, could not be again conveyed. ‘ . . if the trustees had specifically conveyed land delineated on a plan to the defendant they could not subsequently in law transfer it to the plaintiff’. . .
CitedPrenn v Simmonds HL 1971
Backgroun Used to Construe Commercial Contract
Commercial contracts are to be construed in the light of all the background information which could reasonably have been expected to have been available to the parties in order to ascertain what would objectively have been understood to be their . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromAlan Wibberley Building Ltd v Insley HL 24-Mar-1999
The parties disputed ownership of a strip of land between a garden and a farm. The land was registered. There was a hedge and a ditch along the disputed boundary, it had been conceded in the Court of Appeal that a conveyance of land on the hedge . .
CitedParmar and Others v Upton CA 22-Jul-2015
The parties disputed the application of the hedge and ditch rule in settling their boundary. The appellant wished to have reliance placed upon evidence only discovered after trial.
Held: The appeal failed. The Judge was, notwithstanding the . .

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Updated: 24 April 2021; Ref: scu.143097