Land Subject to Trust

December 23rd, 2020 by James Goudie KC

Local authority open space land is held for the purposes of public recreation, public access and public enjoyment pursuant to the Public Health Act 1875 and the Open Spaces Act 1906. The land is held subject to a statutory trust for those purposes. It is not however a trust in the usual private law sense. The land and the trust are inseparable.

The authority dispose of the land. They do so pursuant to the Local Government Act 1972.: However, they do so without complying with their obligation under that Act to advertise the proposed disposal.

The main issue before the Court of Appeal in R (Day) v Shropshire Council is whether upon the disposal the trust continues or comes to an end. It comes to an end, says the Court, unless the dispose had actual knowledge of the authority’s failure.

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