West and Another v Sharp: CA 12 May 1999

A deed granted a right of way 40 ft wide, but the land owner narrowed the area of land over which the easement was enjoyed. The easement dominant owner did not object for many years.
Held: The deed was clear, and the original extent of the right remained, but there had been no substantial interference to justify an order either for an injunction or damages.
Mummery LJ said: ‘Not every interference with an easement, such as a right of way, is actionable. There must be a substantial interference with the enjoyment of it. There is no actionable interference with a right of way if it can be substantially and practically exercised as conveniently after as before the occurrence of the alleged obstruction. Thus, the grant of a right of way in law in respect of every part of a defined area does not involve the proposition that the grantee can in fact object to anything done on any part of the area which would obstruct passage over that part. He can only object to such activities, including obstruction, as substantially interfere with the exercise of the defined right as for the time being is reasonably required by him.’
Mummery LJ, Colman J
Gazette 12-May-1999, [1999] EWCA Civ 1292
England and Wales
CitedKeefe v Amor CA 1965
The Court declined to limit the extent of a right of way 20 feet wide by reference to the bottleneck at its entrance from the road of 4 feet 6 inches, consisting of a pair of gate pillars and a gate of that width. The grant was over the whole 20 . .
CitedCelsteel Ltd v Alton House Holdings Ltd ChD 1985
An equitable easement (a right of way), which was not protected by any entry on the register, was a right openly exercised and enjoyed as appurtenant, in this case to a garage, and it adversely affected registered land as an overriding interest. The . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 31 May 2021; Ref: scu.90387