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Boundary Disputes: Drake v Fripp [2011] EWCA Civ. 1279

February 6, 2012

Boundary Disputes Drake v Fripp [2011] EWCA Civ. 1279

The case of Drake v Fripp [2011] EWCA Civ. 1279 confirms land Registry practice note 40 which states ‘the great majority of land in England and Wales is registered with general boundaries only. As a result, it is not possible to identify the position of the legal boundary from the register of title and title plan.”

The Boundary disputes in this case arose as to a 1996 transfer and the position of the boundary between 2 properties.

In this case the plan was expressed to be for identification purposes only. The court therefore not only looked at the plan but at the document and the land itself. The plan had been derived from an old Ordnance survey map. On the map the boundary was shown to be a stone wall. The new owner argued that in fact the boundary was a fence and in fact that marked the true boundary of the land.

The two boundaries were between 4 and 5 meters apart. The court decided that the boundary was the fence and the land registry moved its boundaries to reflect this.

If moving the boundary causes loss to an innocent landowner then an innocent landowner can claim compensation. In this case however, as the boundary marked on the plan was never the true boundary, it meant that the landowner had in fact suffered no loss and was not entitled to any compensation.

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