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The Planning Portal today reports that changes to the ancient law of 'right to light' are being investigated by the Law Commission

The Law Commission are consulting on significant changes to the legal regime surrounding rights to light in the hope that this will prevent delays in the planning regime. These proposals are provisional at this stage but the organisation has stressed that the Commission’s final recommendations to the Government will be strongly influenced by responses.

The four provisional proposals are:

That it would no longer be possible to acquire rights to light by prescription
There be a new statutory test to clarify the current law on when courts may order a person to pay damages instead of ordering that a person demolishes or stops constructing a building that interferes with a right to light
That a new statutory notice procedure is planned requiring those with the benefit of rights to light to make clear whether they intend to apply to the court for an injunction (ordering a neighbouring landowner not to build in a way that infringes their right to light), with the aim of introducing greater certainty into rights to light disputes
A proposal to allow the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal to be able to extinguish rights to light that are obsolete or have no practical benefit, with payment of compensation in appropriate cases, as it can do under the present law in respect of restrictive covenants.

It also made it clear that it wants to ensure that rights to light do not act as an unnecessary constraint on development: “The availability of modern, good quality residential, office and commercial space is important to the success of increasingly dense, modern town and city centres and to the economy more generally.”

The full extent of the article can be read on the Planning Portal website

Further details of the changes will be reported here as soon as they are available. This is a fundamental change to property law and although seldom used, is a signicant development.

by Susan Robinson -

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21 February 2013 

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Source:  Planning Portal, Law Commission








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