Easements—can I add to the dominant land?
Easements—can I add to the dominant land?

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Easements—can I add to the dominant land?
  • Ancillary use
  • 'Passing through' versus 'passing alongside'
  • ‘Burden and benefit’

Where an easement is expressly granted, the extent of the land benefiting from it (the dominant land) and of the land burdened by it (the servient land) must be clear at the date of grant. The benefit of an easement will not extend to any land subsequently added or tacked on to the dominant land.

Where an easement is claimed by prescription or long use, the extent of the dominant and servient land must be clear from the evidence relied on to support the claim. As with expressly granted easements, the benefit of a right acquired by prescription or long use cannot be extended to other land.

Whether expressly granted or acquired by prescription, a right of way granted for the benefit of a defined area of land may not be used in substance for accommodating another area of land (Harris v Flower (1904) 74 LJ Ch 127).

In Bracewell v Appleby, the court confirmed that this rule applies even if the additional land is adjoining and in the same ownership as the original dominant land. In that case, access to a house was over a private road. The owner of the house bought an adjoining field and built a bungalow. Access to the new bungalow was over the private road and then along a driveway built over the original dominant land. The owner