Rights of Way in Ireland


A New 12 Year Rule Takes Effect from December 2021
Right of Way disputes are common in Ireland where people claim customary rights to pass through another’s property even without any documents to support such a claim.
Even more notorious are cases where little used or dilapidated Rights of Way are closed off by the property owner much to the annoyance of parties using the Right of Way from time to time. The Land & Conveyancing Act 2009 has been passed to simplify and consolidate the old laws and rules in this area.
Under the old regime, you had to establish a continuous and open use of the Right of Way for at least 20 years for such a right to be legally recognized. You can still apply to have such a Right of Way registered in the Land Registry anytime up to 30 November next. However, the 2009 Act has made some important changes.
The most important one is that from December 1st 2021, any person attempting to register a Right of Way must do so under the 2009 Act and not under any previous legislation and has only to show a continuous user period of 12 years being “user as of right “ without interruption.
You may have been using a Right of Way for 30 years or even more but under the 2009 Act the user period only starts running from commencement of the Act, December 2009, and any user period before that is disregarded.
So if you have a Right of Way claim with a long user period, you should register it now or at least before the December 2021 next when such claims will come under the more exacting provisions of the 2009 Act albeit with a 12 year user period instead.


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