Uniquely Important Property Law Cases

Because nearly every person in the country will at some point or another interact with property, residential and commercial property solicitors will often encounter some very interesting cases that ask key questions that are answered by the legal system.

From questions about the nature of property ownership to what you are allowed to do on your own property, here are some of the most uniquely important property law cases in the UK.

Dutton v Bognor Regis Urban District Council

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, landlords and building contractors had a degree of immunity from being sued for building or letting out defective buildings.

This began to change with the general establishment of a duty of care through Donoghue v Stevenson but it was Dutton v Bognor Regis UDC that established that even though Mrs Dutton had bought the building from a third party, the building company and local council had a duty of care towards her, despite not having a direct link.

This led to the establishment of the Defective Premises Act which established in law the landlord and builder’s responsibilities to ensure buildings are constructed properly.

Presho v Doohan

Possibly the most bizarre property case in UK legal history, the disappearance of a house on Tory Island after a mysterious fire set some rather unique legal precedents over the course of 15 years.

With a car park and septic tank built where the house used to be, it was clear that the hotel next to where the house was had benefitted from its destruction, and Mr Presho would win the case, receiving damages of over £40,000 in the process.

Miller v Jackson

When the Miller family bought their house in Lintz near a small cricket ground in the 1970s, they did not perhaps expect to be part of one of the most often-quoted legal decisions in UK law.

In an attempt to stop cricket from being played on the ground due to the potential for property damage, they sued the club and initially actually won the case, stopping the sport from being played there at least for a few months.

On appeal, the ruling was overturned, with the most famous part of the judgement being the almost-poetic opening by Lord Denning, which possessed such lines as “the animals did not mind the cricket.”

The Millers moved after the case, but that has not stopped the decision from being quoted by law students ever since.