West v Sharp: CA 1999

Mummery LJ set out the test to be applied when asking whether there had been a substantial interference in the exercise of an easement so as to be actionable: ‘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. Authority for that is to be found in the judgment of Russell L.J. in Keefe v. Amor [1965] 1 Q.B. 334 at 347. As Scott J. held in Celsteel Ltd v. Alton House Ltd [1985] 1 W.L.R. 204 at 217: ‘There emerge from the three cases I have cited two criteria relevant to the question whether a particular interference with a right of way is actionable. The interference will be actionable if it is substantial. And it will not be substantial if it does not interfere with the reasonable use of the right of way.’


Mummery LJ


(1999) 79 P and CR 32


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedB and Q Plc v Liverpool and Lancashire Properties Ltd ChD 26-Jul-2000
The dominant owner wished to deal with delivery vehicles in a manner where they were left parked awaiting emptying. The servient owner (a lessee) wanted to construct buildings over a large part of the land. The servient owner objected.
Held: . .
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 . .
CitedEmmett v Sisson CA 3-Feb-2014
Appeal against judgment in boundary dispute involving a private driveway.
Held: The appeal failed. ‘The respondents are entitled to exercise the ‘relative luxury’ of the ample right to gain both vehicular and pedestrian access to their land . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.375071