The claimant sought to challenge the confirmation of a public footpath. Pitchford J described how the court should interpret the definitive map made under the 1981 Act: ‘The correct approach to interpretation of the definitive map and statement must be a practical one. They should be examined together with a view to resolving the question whether they are truly in conflict or the statement can properly be read as describing the position of the right of way. If they are in conflict, then the map must take precedence since the discretionary particulars depend for their existence on the conclusiveness of the obligatory map. Unless the statement can properly be interpreted as describing the same footpath as that shown on the map, then the statement cannot be regarded as conclusive evidence of the position of the footpath shown on the map. The question whether the statement does describe the position of a footpath shown on the map is, I accept, a matter of fact and degree. That the statement purports, by reference to the same footpath designation number, to specify the position of a footpath similarly designated on the map is some but, in my view, inconclusive evidence that it in fact does so . . The question whether the statement describes the position of the footpath marked on the map need not require the precision of a slide rule . . For the purposes of section 56 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 the definitive map is the primary and source document. If the accompanying statement cannot be read as supplying particulars of the position of the footpath shown on the map then the position as shown on the map prevails over the position described on the statement. It is conclusive evidence unless and until review under section 53(2). As the absence of authority in this fertile area of litigation demonstrates, the number of occasions when a statement cannot be regarded as compatible with the map will be rare. The question whether they are in irreconcilable conflict is a matter of fact and degree. In reaching a conclusion whether the statement can be reconciled with the map, a degree of tolerance is permissible, depending on the relative particularity and apparent accuracy with which each document is drawn. Extrinsic evidence is not relevant to this exercise save for a comparison between documents and the situation on the ground at or about the ‘relevant date’.’
 EWHC 119 (Admin),  1 WLR 1103
England and Wales
Cited – LE Walwin and Partners Limited v West Sussex County Council ChD 1975
The parties disputed the extent of a public bridleway. The definitive map appeared to show a bridleway stopping at a point where it met a footpath. However the definitive statement described the bridleway as running ‘to the foreshore’ ie. beyond the . .
Cited – Ernstbrunner v Manchester City Council and Another Admn 16-Dec-2009
The appellant challenged by case stated a refusal of the Crown Court to order removal of a gate which he said obstructed a public footpath. The land-owner had persuaded the magistrates that the gate was not on the line of the footpath. The claimant . .
Cited – Kotarski and Another v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Admn 13-May-2010
The applicant sought to challenge an enquiry resulting in the confirmation of of a public right of way across his land. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 June 2022; Ref: scu.222617