The Court of Appeal has confirmed that a landowner does not need to take physical or legal action to prevent rights being acquired, so long as he has made his position clear regarding authorised use of land through visible signage.
In the most recent case, the owners and users of a chip shop had parked for many years without permission on an adjoining landowner’s car park. The landowner had, however, displayed clearly visible signs stating that it was a ‘private car park’ for the use of specific persons only. This was deemed to be sufficient to prevent the chip shop owners and their customers from gaining rights by ‘prescription’ (long use) to park there.
The Court of Appeal recognised that most people do not seek confrontation, and do not have the means to bring legal proceedings. Putting up clearly visible signs is an appropriate, peaceful and inexpensive way of making it clear that the property is private.
The court confirmed that they did not see why people who choose to ignore clear signs should been titled to obtain legal rights over that land.
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