Jones v Bates: CA 1938

The court considered whether there had been an act by the landowner sufficient to amount to a dedication a path as a public right of way. Scott LJ said that actual dedication was ‘often a pure legal fiction [which] put on the affirmant of the public right an artificial onus which was often fatal to his success.’ The subjective belief of the person claiming a prescriptive right was relevant, indeed often determinative, on the question whether he had been acting ‘as of right’


Scott LJ


[1938] 2 All ER 237


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedGodmanchester Town Council, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs HL 20-Jun-2007
The house was asked about whether continuous use of an apparent right of way by the public would create a public right of way after 20 years, and also whether a non overt act by a landowner was sufficient to prove his intention not to dedicate the . .
WrongRegina v Oxfordshire County Council and Another, Ex Parte Sunningwell Parish Council HL 25-Jun-1999
When setting out to establish that a piece of land has become a village green with rights of common, the tests are similar to those used in the law of prescription and adverse possession. Accordingly, there is no need to establish a belief in those . .
WrongNewhaven 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 . .
CitedJaques v Secretary of State for the Environment 1995
Laws pointed out that the law on dedication of had moved forward, saying: ‘Taking the passage cited from Scott LJ in Jones v Bates as a full and convenient description of the common law, it seemed that the material change effected by the statute of . .
CitedRegina v Nicholson and Another, Secretary of State for Environment and others Admn 20-Dec-1996
N objected to the reclassification of a public footpath over his farm as a byway open to all traffic, saying that there had been insufficient evidence to establish a dedication at common law.
Held: N’s appeal failed. ‘A track can become a . .
CitedLancashire County Council, Regina (on The Application of) v SSEFRA and Another SC 11-Dec-2019
Two appeals as to the circumstances in which the concept of ‘statutory incompatibility’ will defeat an application to register land as a town or village green where the land is held by a public authority for statutory purposes. In the first case, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.253528