• In London and Blenheim Estates v Ladbroke Retail Parks Ltd [1992], the courts held that there was not a valid easement because the agreement which created the alleged easement did not properly identify the dominant tenement. The agreement which creates an easement requires a high degree of certainty on the dominant and servient tenement.
  • It was also affirmed by the courts that a right cannot be an easement if it would leave the servient owner without any reasonable use of their land.

Facts of the case:

  • X agreed to sell land to C, with easements relating to the right to park cars on the remaining adjacent land which was still to be owned by X.
  • Part of the agreement for the sale of the property stated that if C wanted to purchase more land, they should contact X before doing so, to ensure they get similar parking rights for the new land.
  • Before X sold the land to C, X sold the remaining land to D. C requested to D that their parking rights be invoked on that land, and D declined.

Issues in the case:

  • The issue in this case was whether the parking rights over the adjacent land were able to constitute easements.

The High Court held:

  • C did not have an easement to park on D’s land.
  • This was because the dominant tenement was not adequately defined in the agreement. Certainty regarding the tenements is paramount in the granting of an easement. A lack of certainty in the present case was fatal to C having an easement.
  • It was also affirmed in this case, though it was not relevant on the facts, that the right to park cars is capable of being an easement, so long as the servient owner is not deprived of ‘any other reasonable use of their land’.

Peter Gibson LJ:

  • “If one asks why the law should require that there should be a dominant tenement before there can be a grant, or a contract for the grant, of an easement sufficient to create an interest in land binding successors in title to the servient land, the answer would appear to lie in the policy against encumbering land with burdens of uncertain extent. As was said by Fox L.J. in Ashburn Anstalt v, Arnold [1989] Ch. 1, 26, “In matters relating to the title to land, certainty is of prime importance”.”
  • [38] “What causes the equitable interest to arise in the case of a right of pre-emption is the fulfilment of the condition specified. In the present case it was an express condition that not only should land capable of being benefitted be acquired but also notice of it had to be given. Until the notice was given the dominant tenement was not identified.”