Right of Way & Rights to Light


A private right of way allows someone to pass and re-pass by foot and/or in a vehicle across land owned by someone else. It is a form of legal right known as an easement. Easements can be created by express grant in a deed of grant, a conveyance or transfer. The express grant of an easement over registered land has to be completed by registration of the right at the Land Registry. An easement can also be created through long use (known as prescription).

Disputes over rights of way can arise where someone blocks the right of way, seeks to change the route or where it is claimed that the use is excessive or not in accordance with the right. If a right of way is being interfered with, it is important to consider whether or not the interference is substantial as this will have to be proven for a successful claim.


Generally, a right to light is the right to receive light over another person's land to particular windows in a building. It is the right to receive sufficient natural light through windows to allow a building to be used for its ordinary purpose. The right is enjoyed by the land rather than through any particular window. Broadly, a claim will arise if the result of the obstruction is that it will leave less than 50 percent of the affected room adequately lit.

Rights to light are increasingly being claimed by property owners seeking to obtain compensation from developers intending to develop the neighbouring land.

Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants can be imposed on land by a seller to prevent a buyer from using it in a way which the seller considers harmful to his or her retained land. Issues that arise in dealing with restrictive covenants include enforcement, who has the benefit and burden, and modification of the covenant to allow a development to proceed.

Contact Mark Eaton if you wish to discuss your right of way or right to light matter.