Acquisition of right of support by prescription

An easement can be acquired by prescription by 20 years’ peaceable and uninterrupted user under the doctrine of lost modern grant. A right of support can be acquired in this way for a building that was built 20 years ago. It can also be acquired when a building is altered in such a way as to increase the pressure on the adjoining land.

Dalton v Henry Angus & Co ((1880 – 81) L.R. 6 App. Cas. 740, HL) concerned neighbouring plots of land. Each owner had built close to the boundary with the other. In 1849, the owner of one plot had erected a factory on his land in such a way as to increase the pressure on the soil of the neighbouring land. More than twenty years later, the neighbour demolished the house on his land. The accompanying excavation removed the support for the factory which fell down. It was held that the factory had acquired a right of support from the soil on the neighbour’s land and this had been infringed by the excavation works. The easement was acquired by 20 years of peaceful and uninterrupted user under the doctrine of lost modern grant.

4 Responses to “Acquisition of right of support by prescription”

  1. Fergus Chau Says:

    Professor, in your opinion, is the acquisition of easement by prescription available in Hong Kong, taken into consideration that the common landlord in Hong Kong is the Government?

  2. Y.C. Chan Says:

    Any ideas if the claim is for a lost modern grant against a part of Crown (government) land? Is it possible and if yes should the period of uninterrupted use be longer than 20 yrs (just like with adverse possession: against Crown land being 60 yrs vs. against private land 12 yrs).

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