Q&As

Is there a difference between ‘vacate’ and ‘give up occupation’?

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Produced in partnership with Desmond Kilcoyne
Published on LexisPSL on 22/02/2019

The following Property Q&A produced in partnership with Desmond Kilcoyne provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Is there a difference between ‘vacate’ and ‘give up occupation’?

Is there a difference between ‘vacate’ and ‘give up occupation’?

It is trite to say that where one of the ‘expressions’ above is used in a statute or document, its precise meaning will depend on the specific context. For example, in Revenue and Customs Commissioners v Newnham College, Cambridge, Hoffman LJ considered the meaning of the word ‘occupation’ and observed (in the context of a VAT case):

‘In choosing the concept of occupation, Parliament must have been aware that it came with a well understood meaning… I do not think that there was ever a time when a mere physical presence on land for the purpose of making use of it, like playing a round of golf, would have been regarded as occupation. Furthermore, other parts of [the VAT statute] … show that Parliament was well aware that ‘occupation’ of land and ‘use’ of land are different concepts…. [A person in ‘occupation’ must have] … “the right to occupy property as if that person were the owner and to exclude any other person from enjoyment of such a right”.’

Indeed, everything which is stated below is subject to the above proviso.

Further, despite Hoffman LJ’s comments above, it also probably correct to say that the two expressions do not have a well-recognised legal meaning or connotation. Here, they may be contrasted with the legal concept of giving ‘vacant

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