September 15th, 2015 by James Goudie KC

There is no doctrine of implied or inferred appropriation. So held Dove J in R (Goodman) v SoS for DEFRA (2015) EWHC 2576 (Admin). Section 122(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 contains no prescribed formula for the procedure to be adopted when a council appropriates land from one purpose to another. It does however need the council to determine that it no longer requires the land for the purpose for which it was holding it up to the point of that appropriation. Appropriation cannot be inferred from conduct alone. As regards the suggestion to the contrary, the Judge said, at paragraph 26:-

“The difficulty with that suggestion is the need for the authority, when exercising the power under Section 122 of the 1972 Act, to be satisfied that the land “is no longer required” for the purpose for which it is held. That requires some conscious deliberative process so as to ensure that the statutory powers under which the land is held is clear and appropriation from one use to another cannot, in my view, be simply inferred from how the council manages or treats the land.”

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