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Property Law Journal: 5 March 2012

Stephen Barry assesses the intricacies of mineral reservations in the context of recent case law

What exactly is a mineral? Although this might at first sight appear to be a daft question, the perplexing answer is that it is quite possibly not what we think it is, and almost certainly not what we mean in everyday language. After all, we think of coal as a mineral whereas it is in fact compressed peat. The precise meaning of a mineral reservation can therefore be equally unclear, especially since it depends on a large body of case law that mostly dates back to the nineteenth century. Resolving disputes – or simply removing ambiguity – often takes quite a rare combination of expertise in geology, law and mineral extraction.

Forsters LLP

Magnus Hassett examines three recent high-profile court decisions and what they mean for landowners and their advisers

The tragic facts behind the three occupiers’ liability cases discussed in this article led to plenty of media interest. However, for practitioners, the cases primarily serve as a useful reminder of some key principles, in particular that:

Dechert LLP

Gillian Baxter reflects on when an informally created easement is enforceable against a purchaser of the land over which it is exercised

A recent Court of Appeal decision, Chaudhary v Yavuz [2011], highlights the crucial importance of ensuring that rights over neighbouring property are properly documented and protected at the Land Registry. In Chaudhary, the failure to protect the right to use an external staircase resulted in the loss of the only means of access to a first-floor flat.

Brabners LLP

Ben Gildea considers the current position in respect of how a person’s entitlement to the equitable interest in a property may be ascertained following a leading Supreme Court decision.

In Britain, there are more than 2.5m couples who presently live together outside of marriage or civil partnership. It is estimated that over 75% of those 2.5 million couples have purchased their property as joint tenants. The critical feature of a joint tenancy is that the legal ownership of a property is not divided into distinct quantifiable shares, but that each person is deemed to own the whole of the legal estate. Therefore, should the relationship break down, there is clearly potential for disagreement as to how the equitable interest in the property should be divided between the two joint tenants.

Nicholas Cheffings looks at Mary Portas’ report on how to revive the high street

On 13 December 2011, a report on the BBC suggested that a third of high streets are ‘degenerating or failing’. The Portas Review, published on the same date, contains 28 recommendations and the government are to be commended for commissioning it. Several interesting ideas emerge from the Review, which, it is to be hoped, will trigger a debate and lead to some meaningful proposals. The new high street minister, though, needs to come up with more than just ‘sticking plasters’ and must address some of the underlying issues. Regeneration of our high streets should be achieved in a holistic manner, which results in a gravitational pull attracting different customers for different reasons at different times to ensure a vibrancy, which becomes self-perpetuating.

Kate Andrews discusses a case that highlights the costs consequences of a refusal to consider ADR

The recent case of PGF II SA v OMFS Company & anor [2012] illustrates the importance of considering the use of alternative dispute resolution, and in particular the sanctions that may be imposed by the court dealing with the issue of costs following acceptance of a Part 36 offer when mediation has been refused without good reason.

Jane Rogers reviews recent case law relating to relevance of previous expert determinations

Valuers and lawyers alike, engaged in the business of establishing the open-market rental value of a property, will be familiar with the so-called hierarchy of evidence and the weight attributable to the different categories of comparable evidence used in the course of a rent review under a lease or a rent determination under s34 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.