Behrens v Richards: 1905

Buckley J refused an injunction sought by the owner of land leading to the foreshore against fishermen who used the land to gain access to the foreshore, although he held that the fishermen had established no public right of way by long user. Buckley J said: ‘I cite again, as I did in Brinckman v Matley, Bowen LJ’s words in Blount v Layard [1891] 2 Ch 681n, 691n, ‘that nothing worse can happen in a free country than to force people to be churlish about their rights for fear that their indulgence may be abused, and to drive them to prevent the enjoyment of things which, although they are matters of private property, naturally give pleasure to many others besides the owners, under the fear that their good nature may be misunderstood,’ and ‘that, however continuous, however lengthy, the indulgence may have been, a jury ought to be warned against extracting out of it an inference unfavourable to the person who has granted the indulgence.’ In permitting persons to stray along the cliff edge or wander down the cliff face or stroll along the foreshore the owner of the land was permitting that which was no injury to him and whose refusal would have been a churlish and unreasonable act on his part. From such a user nothing, I think, is to be inferred.’

Buckley J
[1905] 2 Ch 614
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedNewhaven Port and Properties Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v East Sussex County Council and Another SC 25-Feb-2015
The court was asked: ‘whether East Sussex County Council . . was wrong in law to decide to register an area . . known as West Beach at Newhaven . . as a village green pursuant to the provisions of the Commons Act 2006. The points of principle raised . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 07 January 2022; Ref: scu.562109