Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Chancel repair liability is Personal and Several.

In one day I have had 4 conversations about the nature of chancel repair liability with regards to enclosure awards.  There is a common mistake that the liability is joint this is absolutely not the  case and this was decided by the Wickhambrook verses Croxford case and ratified by the Chivers Verses Airministry cases that the liability is several and personal and definitely not joint in correction to virtually all websites who discuss it.

What does this mean?

Well it means several things  one is that if the liability is partially extinguished on one plot of land by compounding or by another way then it probably continues in the remaining land (if it were a joint liability where it would probably be extinguished). To what extent it continues is a moot point and never been settled but there has been a practice that if 10 acres of an enclosure award of 100 acres is extinguished or compounded  then 90% of the liability is still present. The deed to get rid of the liability has to be quite clear and I have heard of a case where it was unclear and effectively removed all the liability from all the land although the intention was only to remove the liability from one plot.

Secondly it means that a landowner could be faced with the entire bill and then in turn has to sue another land owner for the share of any liability and not expect the PCC to do it for him or to expect the other landowners to be jointly sued for the money by the PCC.


Where these cases correctly decided? 

This a moot point but they are how the law is understood at the moment.

Conclusion 


Beware Chancel repair liability since it  is Personal and Several and it is not a joint liability.




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