Q&As

Who is responsible for maintaining and insuring an unadopted road that has become escheat to the Crown? What options does the Crown have if frontagers refuse to take ownership of a road that the frontagers have rights of way over?

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Published on LexisPSL on 26/01/2016

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Who is responsible for maintaining and insuring an unadopted road that has become escheat to the Crown? What options does the Crown have if frontagers refuse to take ownership of a road that the frontagers have rights of way over?
  • Escheat
  • Unadopted road
  • Sale of land
  • Adoption

Who is responsible for maintaining and insuring an unadopted road that has become escheat to the Crown? What options does the Crown have if frontagers refuse to take ownership of a road that the frontagers have rights of way over?

Escheat

As set out in our Practice Note: Dissolution and bona vacantia—dealing with the Treasury Solicitor, when a company is struck off and dissolved, its property will vest in the Crown Estate through the treasury solicitor as bona vacantia. The Crown may disclaim any interest it has in property under the Companies Act 2006, ss 1013 and 1014 for example, because it is not cost-effective to sell the property. The effect of disclaimer is that the property escheats to the Crown. In Fivestar Properties Ltd, Re Justice Cooke explained the concept of escheat as follows:

Escheat is an ancient term, denoting the principle that if the interest of an inferior tenant determines or is extinguished, the land reverts to the tenant's immediate feudal lord. All land is ultimately held of the Crown, and a freehold interest (otherwise called a "tenancy in fee simple") is a tenancy for these purposes, so that if the freehold interest is extinguished the land reverts to the immediate lord, in practice nowadays being the Crown.

On escheat, the freehold does not pass to the Crown, but determines. This means that the Crown does

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