St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocesan Board of Finance v Clark (No.2): CA 1973

When looking at a contract ‘one must construe the document according to the natural meaning of the words contained in the document as a whole, read in the light of surrounding circumstances.’
The contra preferetem rule can only come into play ‘if the court finds itself unable on the material before it to reach a sure conclusion on the construction’ of the contract and that the rule ‘is not itself a factor to be taken into account in reaching the conclusion’ as to whether or not an ambiguity exists.
Here, the words ‘without any regrant’ in the context of a lease back arrangement mean only ‘without any words of regrant’.
Considering the presence of a gate and its effect on the use of a right of way, Sir John Pennycuick said: ‘But the gate remains, to our mind, a factor of the first importance. Mr. Vinelott referred to cases in which it was held that the owner of a dominant tenement, having once established his right of way, is entitled to remove an obstacle which obstructs it: See Bulstrode v Lambert [1953] 1 WLR 1064 and Keefe v Amor [1965] 1 QB 334 in the Court of Appeal. But that does not mean that the existence of the obstruction at the time of the reservation is any the less an important factor in determining whether the right of way has been established at all.’


Sir John Pennycuick, Russell and Orr LJJ


[1975] 1 WLR 468, [1973] 3 All ER 902


CitedBulstrode v Lambert ChD 1953
The parties disputed the effective extent of an easement which gave an express right to pass and repass providing access across a yard to a side door at premises on which a business was conducted at the time of the grant.
Held: The court . .
Appeal fromSt Edmundsbury v Clark (No 2) ChD 1973
Megarry J described the presumption that a conveyance of land abutting a highway or river passes with it the the adjoining half of that road or river: ‘Various reasons had been given for the presumption. It has been based on convenience and the . .

Cited by:

CitedPartridge and others v Lawrence and others CA 8-Jul-2003
The appellants challenged a finding as to the width of a right of way over their land as exercised by the respondents.
Held: The appeal was allowed in part. Peter Gibson LJ said: ‘The claimants now have the security that this court is . .
CitedMidtown Ltd v City of London Real Property Company Ltd ChD 20-Jan-2005
Tenants occupied land next to land which was to be developed after compulsory acquisition. The tenants and the landlords asserted a right of light over the land, and sought an injunction to prevent the development. The developer denied that any . .
CitedIngram and Palmer-Tomkinson (Executors of the Estate of Lady Jane Lindsay Morgan Ingram Deceased) v Commissioners of Inland Revenue CA 28-Jul-1997
The deceased had first conveyed property to her solicitor. Leases back were then created in her favour, and then the freeholds were conveyed at her direction to her children and grandchildren. They were potentially exempt transfers.
Held: . .
CitedMinor v Groves CA 20-Nov-1997
The parties were neighbours, with houses adjacent to a right of way. Slabs had been laid next to the houses forming a raised pavement. The respondents had sought to enclose their area of this raised pavement, building a porch. They now appealed an . .
CitedPole and Another v Peake and Another CA 17-Jul-1998
The defendants owned land over which the plaintiffs owned shooting and other sporting rights. When the plaintiffs licenced those rights to others the defendants objected and prevented access. They appealed a finding that they had infringed the . .
CitedThompson v Bee and Another CA 20-Nov-2009
The parties disputed the extent and nature of the use allowed for an unregistered but express right of way. The track had been obtained by use for agriculture. The dominant owner appealed against a finding that it was limited to agricultural use, . .
CitedWilkinson and The Estate of Brian Wilkinson v Farmer CA 22-Oct-2010
The court considered whether there was a compelling reason to allow a second application for leave to appeal against an order settling the width of a right of way.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Very limited facts could be established from the . .
CitedAJ Building and Plastering Ltd v Turner and Others QBD 11-Mar-2013
An insurance company had engaged a main contractor to handle repairs to houses insured under its policies. The contractor had engaged the claimant subcontractor to carry out the works at the defendants’ homes, but then went into insolvent . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Contract

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.197724