Dawes v Hawkins; 6 Jul 1860

References: (1860) 8 CB (NS) 848, [1860] EngR 968, (1860) 8 CB NS 848, (1860) 144 ER 1399
Links: Commonlii
Coram: Byles J
Ratio:A highway had been unlawfully stopped up by the adjoining owner and diverted by another route. It was held that the public had a right to deviate on to the adjoining land. The road was subsequently diverted back to its original route. Some years later, the defendant tried to pull down trees which the plaintiff owner grew on the substituted road.
Held: The plaintiff was entitled to damages to trespass as there was no evidence that the substituted road had been dedicated to the public. A dedication of land as a public highway must be in perpetuity, and cannot be for a term of years. Byles J said: ‘once a highway always a highway, for the public cannot release their right and there is no extinctive presumption or prescription. The only methods of stopping up a highway are either by the old writ of adquam damnum or by proceedings before Magistrates under the statute.’
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Last Update: 17-Jun-16
Ref: 186481