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Compare and contrast between legal and equitable interests in land. (AC1.1

Unit Land Law

Level 5      

30 Credits Assignment

You are working for a law firm and have been asked to prepare notes on the following matters in relation to land law.

Task 1

Grace owns a pig farm in Lincolnshire which she has been running with her brother Graham. On Graham’s death in 2005, the ownership of the farm passed to her but has found it too much for her to manage alone. She speaks to her son Karl and asks him to move back home to help with the farm. Karl is working in Birmingham in an accountancy firm with prospects of partnership. Grace tells Karl that the farm will be his one day so it is in his interests to help keep it going. Karl gives up his £60,000 a year job and prospects of partnership and moves back to the farm. He lives rent-free in the farmhouse with Grace and works on the farm for a minimal salary. Karl also upgrades the farm over the next few years using his own savings as Grace tells him she has left it solely to him in her will.

In May 2019, Grace leases some of the farms land to Katia to run a riding school and has granted Katia permission to ride across the remaining farmland. Grace agrees to sell Katia the freehold of the land for £300,000. Katia wants to negotiate a lower purchase price but says she will buy the land as long as she can obtain planning permission for a house and new buildings for the riding school.

Grace dies in early June and in her will leaves the entire estate to the National Trust.

Explain the natures of interests in real property and advise Karl and Katia whether they can enforce the arrangements made with Grace. In the case of Katia this would include the sale of land and continuing lease and licence rights that may exist.

Your notes should:

  • Compare and contrast between legal and equitable interests in land. (AC1.1)
  • Differentiate between personal and proprietary interests. (AC1.2)
  • Explain different types of licences and ownership. (AC1.3)
  • Explain the meaning of proprietary estoppel. (AC2.1)
  • Analyse the conditions for its creation. (AC2.2)
  • Examine available remedies. (AC2.3) For a Merit grade you must:
  • Analyse how licence differs from lease. (1M1)
  • Examine presumption of reliance. (2M1) For a Distinction grade you must:
  • Assess the rationale for specific protection afforded to real property. (1D1)

Task 2

Saskia is the registered freehold owner of a large estate which includes the Manor House, which is her home, Rose Cottage which she has been leasing to Naseem for the last three years and East field which is being occupied by Terrence who runs a fishing club. She used to also own West field which she sold some years ago to Tina who gained planning permission to build on the land and now lives there.

a) Rose Cottage is set in its own garden. There are no easements. Saskia gave Naseem permission to keep his motorbike outside the garden of the property on Manor House land that is not part of the lease. After an argument, Saskia told Naseem that he is no longer allowed to park his bike on the land.

b) East Field has been occupied and developed by Terrence as a fishing centre since 2005. He has improved the river bank, planted hedgerows and trees and has recently erected a small wooden lodge which he runs as a café and fishing supplies shop. He has started charging for entry to the field. Saskia owns the land and the fishing rights. Terrence has occupied the land for some years at no inconvenience to Saskia and she has allowed this. Her son has encouraged her to evict Terrence from the land.

c) West Field was sold two years ago to Tina for her to build a house. As part of the sale, Saskia made and registered a covenant that allowed Tina to erect one, single story property on the land and use it for residential purposes only. Saskia covenanted that she would keep dry stone wall between the Manor House garden and West Field in good repair. Now Tina has decided to build a second storey on her house and an extension to open a tearoom to which Saskia objects. In addition, Saskia has allowed the wall to fall into disrepair. If she can’t build, Tina is considering selling the property.

You are required to consider:

  • Naseem’s right to park on the land outside the cottage garden
  • Terrence’s rights to remain on the land and Saskia’s rights in relation to the land.
  • The rights that exist to enforce the covenant in place relating to the West Field building and the boundary wall now and in the event of Tina selling the property.

Your notes should:

  • Explain the rules for creation and acquisition of legal and equitable easements. (AC3.1)
  • Distinguish between negative and positive easements. (AC3.2)
  • Explain how easements are extinguished. (AC3.3)
  • Distinguish between positive and restrictive covenants. (AC4.1)
    • Explain how the benefit and burden run in law and in equity. (AC4.2)
    • Explain how freehold covenants are discharged or modified. (AC4.3)
    • Explain how adverse possession is established. (AC5.1)
    • Illustrate registered owners’ protection against adverse possession under the LRA 2002. (AC5.2)
    • Illustrate the advantages of registered proprietor in the context of adverse possession. (AC5.3)

For a Merit grade you must:

  • Evaluate the extent of enforceability of positive covenants against third party. (4M1)

For a Distinction grade you must:

  • Evaluate the extent of non-traditional types of easements. (3D1)
  • Critique the justification for acquiring land under adverse possession. (5D1)

Guidelines for assessors

The assignments submitted by learners must achieve the learning outcomes and meet the standards specified by the assessment criteria for the unit. To achieve a merit or distinction grade, the learners must demonstrate that they have achieved all the criteria set for these grades. Where work for the pass standard is marginal, assessors can take account of any extension work completed by the learners. The suggested evidence listed below is how learners can demonstrate that they have met the required standards.






Learners must ensure that their notes are organised, and comprehensive with relevant references to case law and statutory provisions. In their work learners must take account of each command verb listed in the assessment criteria. They should explain any legal

terminology used.


LO1 AC 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, M1.1, D1.1

LO2 AC 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, M2.1

Learners must explain equitable and legal interests in land and personal and proprietary rights identifying the existing rights of Grace, Karl and Katia. They should explain leases and licences in relation to Katia’s riding school and the circumstances in which a licence could be legally binding (Lloyd v Dugdale 2001 and Chaudhary v Yavuz (2011).

The equitable device of proprietary estoppel should be explained and how it may create proprietary interests. Cases include Wilmott v Barber 1880, Taylor Fashions v Liverpool Victoria Trustees 1982, Thorner v Major 2009, Gillett v Holt 2001 and Jennings v Rice 2002 – some or all of these may be mentioned in support of the notes made. Consider whether there is sufficient representation – Karl is told the estate will be solely his. Also consider detriment – Ben gave up job and prospects (Pascoe v Turner 1970).

Katia does not have a contract under the Law of Property as it is not in writing and the agreement is not complete. They should consider whether Katia can continue to lease the land following Grace’s death and the permission to ride across the farm land.


LO3 AC3.1, 3.2, 3.3, (ACM3.1)

LO4     AC4.1,     4.2, M4.1

LO5 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, D5.1

a)  Learners need to consider whether an easement has been granted, whether it is a negative or positive easement and how it can be extinguished. Consider dominant and servient tenements. Cases Hill v Tupper 1863, Moody v Steggles 1873, Platt v Crouch 2003, London and Blenheim Estates v Ladbrook Retail Parks (1992).

b)  Learners need to consider what adverse possession means and the rules for adverse possession of registered land. Explore factual possession and intention to possess. Terrence has dealt with land as owner. Cases: Williams v Usherwood 1983, Powell v MacFarlane 1977.




c) Consider the rights of Saskia and Tina to enforce the covenants. Common law requirements and whether they have been met (they appear to have been met). Saskia’s rights to enforce if Tina sells the property. Positive and negative covenents. Passing of burden in equity, Hallzal v Brizell 1957. Use of LPA 1925.


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