Private rights of way over land


Guide to the law on private rights of way in England and Wales. Please click on the graphic to enlarge it.


Basic Land Law: civil  Private rights of way    Our Live Law video gives an example of a case in which a private right of way was not vital, but was certainly very useful. This will often be the case. The example also demonstrates that proving a right of way has arisen some time in the past can be a hit-or-miss affair: the evidence may be available, in the form of old documents or the memories of people who have know the area for a long time.  But it may not.   Claims to a right of way over someone else’s may prove contentious.  The other person may resent the intrusion, especially if the alleged right is the key to development.  However, as in the example, there may be a deal to be done which benefits both parties.

Questions answered in this Live Law file  Why people need private rights of way over land.  Their legal nature.   Creating permanent rights over land  by deed and “prescription” (i.e. use over time).  How you can limit these rights in granting them by means of a deed.  Maintenance: who can (or should) maintain the relevant road or path.  Taking action for breaches of the law.  How you can alter or end these rights.

For more information about Live Law files generally, please see also our Terms and Conditions.  And see our private roads website,, for information and asssistance aimed at residents in private roads, where private rights of way can often be found.