Rights of Way and Easements, Changes in the Law

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Changes in the law regulating registration of Rights of Way.


The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 introduced onerous provisions concerning registration of certain types of easements including rights of way.  Following submissions made to it by the Law Society, the government has amended the law,  making it easier for persons who have a right of way to register it in the Property Registration Authority (PRA).


The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 amended the Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, by removing the necessity of obtaining a court order by those who wanted to protect rights obtained over neighbour’s property which accrued by lapse of time.    When the right of way (or similar right) has been acquired by continuous use for 20 or more years, it may now be registered by either;


  1. Registration of a Court Order under Section 35 of the 2009 Act, or
  2. In accordance with Section 49(a) of the Registration of Title Act 1964.


The Act introduced a new procedure for the registration of easements and similar rights in the PRA.  Instead of having to obtain a court order the applicant may submit an Affidavit and other documentation to the PRA which will then, subject to any objections that may  be made by the owner of the property affected, register the easement.  If there is an objection from the owner of the property which cannot be resolved by agreeement the dispute may well end up in Court. A meeting of the Registry of Deeds and Title Rules Committee will be convened shortly to make the necessary rules to facilitate parties who wish to make application to the Property Registration Authority.


Most land in the state is registered in the PRA, however there is a lot of urban land which is not registered in the PRA but is instead registered in the Registry of Deeds.  This new procedure will only apply to registered land and it will be a requirement that owners of Registry of Deeds title to register their title in the PRA before availing of the procedure.


The procedure under the 2009 Act entailed applicants making an application prior to December 2012.  The new bill proposes to extend this period by 12 years i.e. the easements must be registered prior to December 2021.


The Act has been welcomed by conveyancing solicitors as it will simplify the registration process and extend the time allowed for registration of rights of way and other similar rights acquired by lapse of time.


By David Williams



David is contactable by phone at 021 4374444 or by email at david.williams@arw.ie


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