Appropriation of Allotment Land

February 19th, 2020 by James Goudie KC

On 13 May 2019 this Bulletin noted the decision in R (Adamson) v Kirklees MBC, in which an allotment holder’s claim succeeded, on the basis that the land had been appropriated for use as allotments, within Section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925.

The Council’s appeal has now succeeded: (2020) EWCA Civ 154.  The land had not been so appropriated.  McCombe LJ stated (para 34) that there is “no general definition” of what is required to constitute an appropriation, either in statute or in the case law.  It is a word that “takes its meaning from its context”.  He observed (para 35) that the meaning of the word has caused “some difficulty” over the years.  He then (paras 35-50 inclusive) reviewed the authorities; addressed (paras 51-57 inclusive) the approach to evidence; and (paras 58-60 inclusive) considered appellate review of findings of fact.  He concluded (para 68) that, whereas it is not necessary for an appropriation to be recorded in a resolution which uses that very word, the Judge’s conclusion could not stand.  The result (para 70) was that a 1935 Minute was not an appropriation in the sense in which that expression is used in local government law, and in particular in Section 8 of the 1925 Act.

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